Coffee growers in Karnataka have incurred 35% yield losses after heavy rains lashed and damaged plantations in the coffee heartlands of the state, said Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA) on Friday.
Heavy rains have been battering plantation districts of Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, Hassan and Chamarajanagar since July 1, causing huge damage to the coffee crop, coffee plants and estate infrastructure, as per KPA.
“The coffee plants are affected by both stalk rot and root rot diseases. Growers assess the damage to the coffee crop, coffee plants and estate infrastructure in general. The yield loss itself is estimated at more than 35%,’‘ N. Ramanathan, Chairman, KPA told The Hindu.
Overdose of rains
Heavy rains have adversely affected normal life in these plantation districts. Streams are overflowing, water has stagnated in the low-lying areas and coffee plants are marooned. Several trees in the plantations have also fallen due to rains with strong winds further damaging the coffee plants, he said.
A large number of coffee plants have been standing in water for weeks now. “Plants start shedding leaves and berries after standing in water for a week, causing huge damage to planters,’‘ Ramanathan added.
Steady and slow rain for a long time is a good thing for plantations. But this time, in a short span of a few days, the region has received an overdose of rains. “The rains in July and August were 26% above average normal rainfall. Consequently, the coffee berries have turned black and have dropped off due to which the crop is lost and the quality of remaining coffee crop on the plants has also deteriorated,’‘ he stated.
Restructure loans for coffee growers
At this juncture, KPA asked the Coffee Board and departments of Revenue and Horticulture to inspect the flood-affected areas of coffee-growing regions in Karnataka and further assess the damage.
KPA also requested the state government to declare affected villages in Chikkamagalur, Kodagu, Hassan and Chamarajnagar districts as flood-affected areas.
Further, the planters’ body also asked both central and state governments to provide relief to the affected plantation growers. “Banks should also take note of the coffee damage and restructure existing loans and provide relief to coffee growers who incurred huge losses during this monsoon,” Ramanathan said.