Faced with excess rains in July and August, coffee growers in Karnataka fear that the crop for the 2022-23 season, starting October, is likely to shrink by around 15 to 35 per cent over the initial blossom estimates.

Key coffee-growing districts of Chikkamagluru, Hassan and Kodagu have received uneven rains since the start of this monsoon season. While rains were deficit during the month of June, the precipitation has been excess since July till date.

For the monsoon season as a whole from June 1 till August 19, Chikkamagaluru district has received 16 per cent excess rains, Hassan has got 51 per cent more precipitation while Kodagu has got 9 per cent more than normal rain. The rains have taken a break this week and growers, officials are yet to carry out an assessment of the impact of excess rains.

Post-monsoon damages

N Ramanathan, Chairman, Karnataka Planters Association, said after the monsoon showers there has been more damage as the after-effects of the excess rains have been huge. “In Robustas we have lost about 35-40 per cent from the initial blossom estimate, while in Arabicas the crop loss should be 25-30 per cent,” Ramanathan said, adding that the growers’ body was trying to get more details on the crop loss with the rains providing a brief respite.

Jeffrey Rebello, vice-president, UPASI, said the general opinion among growers is that there could be a 15-20 per cent crop loss due to excess rains as per the rough estimates. “We need to assess the losses,” he said

Over the past few years, the excess precipitation during monsoon has become a regular feature in the coffee-growing districts of Karnataka, which accounts for over 70 per cent of the country’s coffee production. “The excess rains during July have led to root rot and wet feet conditions resulting in berry dropping and leaf dropping in several areas, leading to crop loss of around 30-35 per cent,” said H T Mohan Kumar, President of The Karnataka Growers Federation, a small growers body.

Seeking more compensation

“During June there was a rainfall deficit and as a result growers couldn’t carry out the application of fertilisers and other cultural operations. Excess rains during July and August impacted the plants, which couldn’t withstand the excess downpour resulting in crop loss. We are urging the government to declare the coffee regions as rain-affected districts and provide relief to the growers,” Kumar said.

“Also we are urging the government to increase the compensation to at least ₹50,000 per acre for a maximum of 10 acres as coffee is a capital-intensive crop, unlike other agri crops. Presently, the grower is entitled to total compensation of ₹28,000 per acre (₹18,000 under NDRF and ₹10,000 by the State Government) for a maximum of two acres,” Kumar said.

The Coffee Board, in initial post-blossom estimates, pegged the 2022-23 crop at 3.93 lakh tonnes comprising 1.169 lakh tonnes of Arabicas and 2.77 lakh tonnes of Robustas on favourable weather conditions during March-May aiding the blossoms and crop setting this year. The post-blossom estimates are higher by about 15 per cent over the final estimates of 3.42 lakh tonnes for the current 2021-22 crop year ending September. Much of this expected increase in next year’s output was to be driven by Karnataka, where the crop was seen higher by 18 per cent as per the initial estimates.

In Karnataka, the arabica output was pegged higher at 86,150 tonnes, an increase of about 27 per cent over previous year’s 68,025 tonnes. Similarly, the Robusta output was seen higher at 1.99 lakh tonnes, an increase of 15 per cent over last year’s 1.736 lakh tonnes.

social-fb COMMENT NOW