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No Coffee, No Pepper: Kerala Farmers Hopeless as Floods Wash Off Entire Year’s Crops

Kerala’s devastating deluge has brought the state’s economy to a standstill with thousands of farmers clueless about their future course of action as rain waters have destroyed year-long plantations, leaving behind nothing but despair.

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“All of the coffee berries are gone. The trees are somehow standing but with no beans. We have no clue how will we earn even after the water recedes. These plantations are what we bank on. Now we can only wait for the next year for future course of action, however, this year will be very difficult,” said Saseendra Babu, a local producer in Kerala.

With a gross domestic product (GDP) worth Rs 8 lakh crore, coffee, cardamom, rubber and pepper alone account for roughly 20 percent of the state’s income.

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Justin Mohan, director of Department of Agriculture Development and Farmer’s Welfare, said, “Preliminary findings show that nearly 1,82,000 farmers are directly affected, and nearly 28,150 hectares of farm land are submerged in flood waters. The estimated loss of crops in revenue is expected to be around Rs 700 crore, but could go up.”

“The unprecedented rain has resulted in devastation of coffee plantations of unimaginable proportion. Coffee plants have also been uprooted in vast areas,” said HT Pramod, Chairman, Karnataka Planters Association (KPA), the apex body of planters in the state.

The planters’ bodies estimate the 2018-19 coffee crop loss at 70-80 percent.

Strong winds along with rains have also washed off the pepper spikes in both the states, negatively impacting pepper production. The waterlogging in the areas will also damaged the cultivation extensively, according to multiple farmers.

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According to data provided by the state’s Disaster Management department, the estimated crop loss due to incessant rainfall in Kerala between August 8 and 15 was estimated to be around Rs 55 crore. Northwards of 3,500 hectares had been impacted by the showers by then. Updated official data on this is yet to be provided.

Read more : News18.com

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