T.S. Ranganna

It has actually acted as a ‘blossom shower’

20 per cent of crop yet to be harvested

BANGALORE: Rain in the coffee growing districts of Chikmagalur and Hassan on February 11, which continued for a couple of days, has actually acted as a “blossom shower” for Robusta coffee crop.

Giving this reaction to The Hindu on the possible damage to coffee crops from the “untimely rain”, Coffee Board chairman G.V.K. Rau said that the rain had not affected the crop at all. Admitting that nobody had expected rain in the middle of February, when 20 per cent of Robusta crop was yet to be harvested, he said that the rain in Chikmagalur district and Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district was fairly good.

Mr. Rau said that three to four inches of rain spread over a period of three days was good and the crop got a full blossom. This also helped planters who had irrigation facility, as they saved irrigation cost. Naturally, they welcomed the rain.

Admitting that the rain for Arabica coffee crop was four weeks early, he said that planters would have been happier and the plants would have got two more nodes, if it had rained later. They had expected spells of rain between March 1 and April 15. Naturally, the growers were disappointed, he added.

Mr. Rau said that the crop would be good after 40 days, quoting figures in the past. There was a good crop in 2003, following an off-seasonal shower in the second week of February, the previous year. As of now, there was no cause for concern, he said.

The 100 mm of rainfall would help keep the moisture in the soil for Arabica coffee crop. He said that the three coffee growing districts were in a safe zone and the “blossom shower anxiety” was over now.

However, the southern parts of Kodagu district and N.R. Pura of Chikmagalur district had received inadequate rain.