Heavy rains which lashed across Malnad districts in monsoon season. Unusually heavy rain — around 15 inches in August first week followed by 12 inches in the last week — in parts of Malnad districts hit coffee planters hoping for a bumper harvest.
The Arabica and Robusta coffee growers in Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Sakleshpur, Belur and Alur taluks of Hassan have been affected. Even black pepper vines have turned yellow following heavy rain.
With heavy rain, floods and landslides battering the Malnad belt for over a month, the country’s largest coffeegrowing region is staring at heavy losses for the second year in a row. If north Kodagu was battered by floods and landslides last year, south Kodagu bore the burnt this time. Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district and Sakleshpur in Hassan are the other two worst-affected taluks.
The increase in humidity has affected the coffee beans. The coffee plants have turned black following the flood. The coffee plants have turned black following the flood.
The plants have started rotting. Replanting has to be taken up in such plantations in the district. The coffee plantations are hit by fruit rot disease as well.
The untimely ripening of ‘Kaveri’ coffee beans has affected the production in several parts of the district.
The government should take measures to check the import of pepper to stabilise the domestic market.
The loan borrowings by the growers should be waived and a special package should be announced for the rescue of growers who are in distress.
Officials of various commodities boards who spoke on the outlook for coffee, pepper and cardamom, presented a bleak picture for the year-ahead as the erratic rainfall across key producing States such as Karnataka and Kerala is seen impacting the output.
“There will be an impact on the production of coffee because of the erratic rains,” said Babu Reddy, Director-Market Research, Coffee Board. The Board is still carrying out the crop loss survey and it is too early to quantify the crop size, he said.
Heavy rain and flooding have affected paddy fields, arecanut plantations and pepper crop in the Malnad region, which also comprises Shivamogga. “We expected good coffee output this year, but about 60% of berries in the district have been destroyed and it hasn’t stopped raining,’’ said KN Karumabaiah, office-bearer of Coorg Planters’ Association, said.
Before the incessant rains impacted the crop in August, the Board had pegged the post-blossom estimates for 2019-20 at 3.55 lakh tonnes. The crop for 2018-19 year ending September is marginally higher at 3.19 lakh tonnes.Similarly, with pepper and cardamom, the output is likely to be lower this year.
IMD officials said Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan districts had excessive rainfall of 43% to 91% from July to September 10. These three districts account for 70% of the country’s bean production.
“The compensation we got last year was not commensurate with losses. This time too, we don’t expect much. Last year, the government gave about Rs 12,000 per hectare while the actual loss ranged between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh per hectare,’’ said Kiran K, a coffee planter in Mudigere.
2.The Times of India