Karnataka’s key coffee-growing districts - Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, and Hassan - have received significantly lower rainfall so far this monsoon compared to last season. While this is worrying, coffee planters are also tense about the possibility of heavy downpours in one short stretch in the later phase of monsoon, a phenomenon that has in the past pushed them to distress.
According to Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA), a primary coffee growers’ body based in Chikkamagaluru, the rainfall received by the coffee heartland so far has been 60% lower than the corresponding period last year.
Confirming this to The Hindu, A. Prasad, scientist, India Meteorological Department, said Kodagu was the most hit among the three districts as it received 60% less rainfall compared to the same period last monsoon. The deficiency felt in Hassan district was 48% and Chikkamagaluru 44%.
However, Mr. Prasad said: “21st to 27th July is quite encouraging for the State of Karnataka as above normal rainfall is expected over coastal Karnataka, Ghat districts and North Interior districts. This is expected to bring down the deficit especially in Ghat districts largely.”
Worried about downpour
Mahesh Shashidhar, chairman, KPA, said the decrease in rainfall has not yet impacted the coffee crop but in the long term it would affect planters as low rainfall would mean less groundwater availability and drying of streams and springs in plantations.
“What we dread most is huge downpour for several days at a stretch. That will certainly impact coffee crops adversely. Already, most plantations did not get timely blossom showers in February-March negatively impacting berry setting and yield,” he said.