Agri Business

Continuous rain leads to berry drop in coffee

Anil Urs Bangalore | Updated on September 06, 2011

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It is a double trouble for coffee growing regions – continuous rain in the last 10 days of August has caused Black rot disease to set in arabica and the region is facing acute shortage of potash-based fertilisers leading to berry dropping.

“The coffee growing districts of Chikmagalur, Hassan and Kodagu have had considerable amount of rain without a break in the last week of August. This has caused black rot to set in arabica which has caused berry drop,” said Mr Sahadev Balakrishna, Chairman, Karnataka Planters Association (KPA).

“In addition to black rot, due to non-availability of potash-based fertilisers in the region, many growers were unable to do mid-monsoon manuring. This has also contributed to berry drop,” Mr Balakrishna said.

Black rot ( Koleroga noxia Donk) usually occurs during monsoon months in endemic areas with high humidity and hanging mist. Blackening and subsequent rotting of young leaves, berries and shoots. Diseased leaves get detached from branches and hang out by means of slimy fungal strands.

“Alarmed at Black rot, the Coffee Board has initiated a move, advising coffee growers to facilitate aeration of plants by clearing the base of plants of weeds, dry leaves and mulch and piling them in the space between four plants to prevent berry dropping to some extent,” said a senior Coffee Board official.

Talking about the impact on coffee crop for 2011-12, Mr Balakrishna said it is too early to assess for as the monsoon is still on.

KPA crop estimate

KPA said 2011-12 is an ‘on' year for arabica. Since arabica is biennial in bearing, India would be picking a higher 2011-12 crop. There would be around 10 per cent increase in the crop over 2010-11. “We estimate the 2010-11 crop to be around 80,000 tonnes, therefore the 2011-12 crop would be slightly over 90,000 tonnes,” said Mr Balakrishna.

On the robusta front, 2011-12 is an ‘off' year as there was inadequate distribution of crucial blossom rain and severe constraints on water and power resources for irrigation.

“KPA has estimated India's 2010-11 robusta crop to be around 2 lakh tonnes which is a high crop. Established plantations will not be able to achieve a higher production with the existing area as there would be an automatic decrease in production after a very high crop year,” Mr Balakrishna explained.

Published on September 06, 2011

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