Coffee planters are looking at overseas expertise to prop up domestic production.
Karnataka Planters’ Association Chairman Nishant R. Gurjer told The Hindu here on Monday that the association expected coffee production to be static at 2.8 lakh tonnes this year due to extreme weather conditions. It needed better varieties (such as pest resistant and withstand vagaries of weather) and also solution to the white stem borer problem. The Coffee Board and scientists should work with the planters and give the required inputs.
Due to the white stem borer problem in Arabica, there is a marked increase in the cultivation of Robusta variety. Arabica is now just one third of the production. “Hence, we are also looking at overseas expertise to increase production, and to find a solution. We can have some initiative or solution in 2-3 years if the experts visit the plantations here.” The association has invited an expert from Brazil to participate in its annual conference.
Shirish Vijayendra, convenor of the scientific committee of the association, said the association had organised international visits for delegations of coffee planters in the last three years. A group of 35 planters visited Brazil and Colombia this year. Planter have now started implementing drip irrigation. “We are way behind in technology compared to leading coffee producers. We are lagging behind in research. We are desperate for solutions. We are trying to go to other countries and see how they are able to increase productivity. We lack good plant materials,” he said.