Untimely downpour rains losses on coffee growers in Karnataka

According to H.T. Mohan Kumar, president of the Karnataka Growers’ Federation, around 40% of the coffee crop has been lost owing to untimely rain.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Untimely rain in the last few days has left coffee planters in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, and Kodagu districts in distress. The Karnataka Growers’ Federation (KGF), an umbrella organisation of coffee growers in the three districts, has estimated the loss at a whopping ₹900 crore.

The KGF has 23 hobli-level organisations in the three coffee-growing districts. The federation collected data through them and assessed the loss. H.T. Mohan Kumar, KGF president, said the overall loss in crops owing to the untimely rain was around 40%. “The growers in the three districts were expecting an yield of 81,000 tonnes. However, the rain has taken away over 32,500 tonnes of coffee. The value of the crop lost is around ₹900 crore,” he said.

Unable to harvest

As per the KGF reports, the quantity of crop lost in Hassan district is about 8,000 tonnes, in Chikkamagaluru it is 15,000 tonnes, and in Kodagu 9,500 tonnes. The growers could not harvest the yield owing to incessant rain. The Coffee Board of India is also conducting a survey to assess the loss.

A.N. Nagarajiah, a coffee grower with four acres of the plantation at Arehalli in Belur taluk, said he had spent about ₹4 lakh this year with an expectation of 45 bags of yield. “If there is no rain in the coming days, I may get hardly 20 bags of coffee. I can earn only about ₹2 lakh. The situation of all small growers is similar,” said Mr. Nagarajaiah, who is also organising secretary of the KGF.

Untimely downpour rains losses on coffee growers in Karnataka

On an average, a grower spends up to ₹2.5 lakh per hectare of coffee in a year. The input cost has gone up in recent years owing to the non-availability of labour and other factors. However, the Government has fixed the compensation at ₹18,000 per hectare. “A grower can get compensation for up to two hectares, which is ₹36,000. Considering the amount spent by coffee growers, the relief amount is negligible. We have appealed to the Government to provide at least ₹ 50,000 per hectare and compensation should be paid up to 10 hectares,” said Mr. Mohan Kumar.

Meanwhile, Coffee Board CEO and secretary K.G. Jagadeesha admitted that unseasonal heavy rain in the last one month had devastated standing crops, especially Arabica. However, he added, it was heartening to see that despite setbacks in production on account of vagaries of nature, coffee exports from the country were on the rise mainly owing to the increased contribution of re-exports in terms of value-added coffee exports.

Elephants too

Besides the untimely rain, the coffee growers are constantly affected by the movement of wild elephants. Last week, a herd of over 35 elephants was spotted at a farm near Ballupete in Sakaleshpur taluk. “Nowadays, we growers have stopped demanding compensation for crop loss owing to elephants. We demand all elephants be captured and relocated,” said K.B. Krishnappa, secretary of the KGF.

The growers are angry with Forest Minister Umesh Katti, who had not visited the elephant-affected area, though he promised he would do so.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 11:17:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/untimely-downpour-rains-losses-on-coffee-growers-in-karnataka/article37731719.ece

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