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Coffee plants in bloom worry Wayanad farmers

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Cause for alarm: A coffee plant in untimely bloom.
Cause for alarm: A coffee plant in untimely bloom.

E.M. Manoj

Farmers say it will hit production next season

KALPETTA: The untimely blossoming of coffee plants has affected the prospects of coffee farmers in the district, a major coffee-growing region in the State.

Coffee plants are in bloom at many parts of the district owing to the unexpected rain in December. This will not only affect the coffee production next year but also the harvesting this season, they fear.

“The harvesting season of coffee has just begun in the district and the untimely blossoming will adversely affect the coffee production next year as well as the harvesting during the season,” K.A. Bhaskaran, a small scale coffee planter, said.

Summer showers

“Usually we get summer showers during March or April after the harvest and we get enough time for pruning the trees. But this year, many parts of the district, including Nadvayal, Meenangadi, Muttil, Vakeri and Moonnanakuzhy, got unexpected summer rain,” he said.

After the blossoming period, back-up showers are important for a better crop next year, the farmers in these regions said.

Nearly 90 per cent of the coffee farmers here are in the small scale sector and the premature blossoming of the plant will adversely affect them.

Though estate owners can irrigate their holdings with sprinkler irrigation systems, such facilities are out of reach of small farmers.

Pest attack

The farming community fears that the earlier blossoming may lead to the spread of berry borer, a major pest attacking coffee beans.

Coffee Board sources said the summer rain had affected only a few coffee-growing regions in the district and it was nearly one to five per cent of the total area.

“There is a chance of increased berry borer attack in these areas next year if precautionary measures are not taken,” they said.

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