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Coffee Board asks Planters to maintain two-tier canopy of shade in coffee plantations

The Coffee Board of India(CBI) is implementing a range of programs to help farmers adapt to the changing climate.
According to exclusive reports given by Dr Raghuramulu,Director of India’s Central Coffee Research Institute,to World Coffee Report-contains concern over negative effects of climate changes.In the reports Raghuramulu explained about effects of climate change and impacts of more intensive farming practices that are being fallowed in recent years in India’s main coffee growing regions.  

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In India,coffee has been cultivated in a traditional agro-forestry landscape under mixed shade of native trees and exotic trees with high degree of diversification (mixed cropping) with black pepper, orange, banana and other plantation crops” says Raghuramulu.

“This practice has ensured the longevity of the farm, maintenance of biodiversity and simultaneously providing a host of ecosystem services. Over a period of time, the coffee growers tended to reduce the shade cover to achieve higher crop production. The thinning of shade cover coupled with changing climatic conditions in recent years have started to impact on the coffee production in India in a significant manner”.

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 In order to protect the coffee bushes from high radiation levels and rising temperatures, the CBI has launched massive awareness programs on the importance of maintaining good shade cover.

“The growers have also realised the importance of shade cover for coffee and have started to avoid shade regulation or thinning in their plantations,” Raghuramulu says.

Among the sustainable practices recommended to farmers, important is a well-maintained two-tier canopy of shade which is best for protecting coffee bushes against high summer temperatures.In the case of Arabica, a canopy coverage of 50 to 60 per cent with two-tier shade pattern is essential to provide required micro climatic conditions. This helps to mitigate the effects of drought besides control of pest and diseases.

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In case of Robusta, 30 to 40 per cent shade cover is recommended to achieve maximum productivity without adversely affecting the coffee bushes.   

Indian coffee plantations host nearly 200 different types of shade trees. However, the desirable shade trees recommended for coffee plantations include native trees that contribute substantial leaf litter biomass and high value timber trees for fetching additional income to famers. In addition to this, the CBI is advising farmers on the benefits of building the organic matter in the soil.

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Source:World Coffee Report

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