Coffee production is likely to drop 10 per cent with pests wreaking havoc on the crop following poor monsoon in Karnataka.

Pests such as White Stem Borer (WSB) and mealy bug are destroying the crop in coffee growing regions of Chikmagalur, Hassan and parts of north Kodagu.

This has led to planters uprooting thrice the number of plants on an acre compared with those during monsoon.

“The actual impact of WSB on the coffee crop, health of the plants and severity of the crisis will be known only in October when the rains recede,” said Nishant Gurjer, Convenor, Scientific Committee, Karnataka Planters' Association (KPA) and Managing Partner, Sethuraman Estates, Chikmagalur.

“Uprooting of plants is leading to long-term loss as well. Growers might face low productivity from three to five years,” he said.

The Coffee Board, on its part, has begun conducting contact-cum-awareness drive on the management of WSB in all the coffee-growing districts.

The Board has also taken up distribution of traps, picking mats to contain the menace, said a senior Coffee Board official.

Acknowledging widespread pest attack, Bose Mandana, former Vice-Chairman, Coffee Board, and a senior coffee planter from Kodagu, said: “Yes pest incidents are high compared to previous years due to lack of moisture. As for the rainfall quantity, it is much less than normal.”

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 3, 2012)
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