Karnataka Coffee farmers are worried about over 15% loss of their crops to heavy rain.
Due to excessive rains in July and August, coffee growers in Karnataka are concerned that the crop for the 2022-23 season, which begins in October, would be reduced by 15 to 35 percent from earlier blossom estimates.
Since the commencement of the monsoon season, the key coffee-growing regions of Chikkamagluru, Hassan, and Kodagu have received erratic precipitation. While rainfall was few in June, precipitation has been abundant from July until now.
From June 1 to August 19, the Chikkamagaluru district had 16% more rain than normal, Hassan received 51% more rain, and Kodagu received 9% more rain than normal. The rains have stopped this week, and producers and officials have yet to analyze the impact of the surplus rains.
According to N Ramanathan, Chairman of the Karnataka Planters Association, there has been more damage following the monsoon showers because the after-effects of the excess rains have been massive. ‘We have lost roughly 35-40% of the initial blossom estimate in Robustas, while the crop loss in Arabicas should be 25-30%,’ Ramanathan said, adding that the producers’ group was trying to acquire further details on the crop loss with the rains providing a little reprieve.
According to Jeffrey Rebello, vice-president of UPASI (United Planters’ Association of Southern India), the general consensus among growers is that excessive rains could result in a 15-20% crop loss. ‘We have to estimate the losses,’ he explained.
Over the last few years, excessive monsoon precipitation has been a frequent occurrence in the coffee-growing areas of Karnataka, which accounts for more than 70% of the country’s coffee production. ‘Excess rains in July caused root rot and wet foot conditions, resulting in berry dropping and leaf dropping in numerous regions, resulting in crop loss of roughly 30-35 percent,’ said H T Mohan Kumar, President of The Karnataka Growers Federation, a small growers organization.
Seeking greater remuneration
‘There was a rainfall shortage in June, which prevented growers from applying fertilizer and doing other cultural activities.’ Excess rainfall in July and August harmed the plants, which were unable to survive the downpour, resulting in crop loss. ‘We are requesting that the government classify the coffee regions as rain-affected districts and provide relief to the growers,’ Kumar added.
‘We are also requesting the government to boost the payout to at least ₹50,000 per acre for a maximum of 10 acres, as coffee is a capital-intensive crop in comparison to other agri crops.’ Currently, the producer is entitled to total compensation of ₹28,000 per acre (NDRF ₹18,000 and State Government ₹10,000) for a maximum of two acres,’ Kumar explained.
The Coffee Board estimated the 2022-23 harvest at 3.93 lakh tonnes, consisting of 1.169 lakh tonnes of Arabicas and 2.77 lakh tonnes of Robustas, based on favorable weather conditions during March-May that aided the flowers and crop setting this year.
The post-blossom predictions are nearly 15% higher than the final estimates of 3.42 lakh tonnes for the current 2021-22 crop year, which ends in September. Much of the predicted increase in output for next year was to be driven by Karnataka, where the crop was expected to grow by 18% according to preliminary projections.
In Karnataka, arabica output was estimated to be 86,150 tonnes, a 27 percent increase over the previous year’s 68,025 tonnes. Similarly, Robusta’s output increased by 15% to 1.99 lakh tonnes, up from 1.736 lakh tonnes the previous year.