Madikeri, Karnataka: The Natural calamity for second successive year has caused huge loss to the Coffee growers in Kodagu district of Karnataka. ...
Madikeri, Karnataka: The Natural calamity for second successive year has caused huge loss to the Coffee growers in Kodagu district of Karnataka. Coffee growers in Kodagu are staring at yet another difficult year and may end up with recurring distress from last week's flood and landslips. Rain havoc from the start of this month has destroyed plantations, and incessant rainfall has resulted in extensive berry-dropping. In the worst cases, there has been destruction of entire estates. The exact extent of damage to the standing crop is yet to be assessed, but according to initial estimates by the Kodagu district administration 1,02,034 hectares of coffee estates have been damaged. The crop loss is pegged at Rs 51.85 crore. On the other hand the coffee growers facing an acute shortage of labours, many growers have outsourced the entire coffee estate after being unable to manage the situation. The coffee crop is likely to drop during 2019-2020 in the State as well as in the country due to excess rain in many parts of Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan districts, where 70 per cent of India's coffee is grown,
The growers had already suffered huge loss in last year's deluge and planters were hoping for a recovery this year. Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru planters say they need at least 10 years to redevelop the plantations and in some cases, it may take more than that. According to the Coffee Board, the coffee-growing areas in Karnataka — Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, and Hassan districts — had excessive rainfall of 46 98 per cent from January to September last year. In Kodagu alone, the crop loss was estimated at 25,020 tonnes. The crop loss in Chikkamagaluru and Hassan districts has been estimated at 17,250 tonnes and 5,980 tonnes, respectively. The statistics are based on the crop loss assessment conducted by the board after last year's calamity. This year, many estates have been damaged in parts of Baluru and Kalasa hoblis in Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru. Karthik of Madhugundi village said his family had been growing coffee for many decades and refused to diversify into the homestay business. "We wanted to continue with traditional farming. Now, a major portion of the estate is lost because of landslips," he said. His family owns over 50 acres of estate. Now, only about 5 to 10 acres have survived, that too not in a contiguous patch. C K Belliappa, Secretary of the Codagu Planters' Association, said, "Berry-dropping from the standing crop has been widespread, besides crop inundation. South Kodagu is the worst affected this year and many plantations in Thora in Virajpet taluk, which had major landslips, have been destroyed. We are in touch with the Board and have explained about our plight. The Board will make a correct assessment of the loss and we will await its report for planters said the extent of compensation they got last year was not commensurate with the losses. The district administration has said farmers would get Rs 12,400 per ha for desilting of heaps of mud and sand collected on their land.
However, the amount paid last year was not sufficient, considering the loss they had suffered, they said. B Shivakumar, Deputy Director (Extension), Coffee Board, Madikeri, said that the crop loss assessment had commenced and it would take some time to get a clear picture on losses. "Excessive moisture that remains after rain is also detrimental to the crop." Black pepper is cultivated on 4,500 hectares of land in Somwarpet taluk. The growers have incurred loss in Somwarpet Kasaba, Shanivarasanthe, Suntikoppa and Kodlipete Hobli. The pepper vines are affected with disease at Kundalli, Kumaralli, Takeri, Kiragandooru, Tholooru Shettalli, Koothi, Bachalli, Yadooru, Kalkandooru, Hosabeedu villages. Further, the slash in the price of pepper too has affected the growers. Pepper that was fetching Rs 600 to Rs 750 per kg two years ago now the price has come down to Rs 290 to Rs 300 per kg. The vagaries of nature have affected the pepper vines in the district. Normally, when the coffee prices crash, the growers depend on the pepper for survival. This year, both the crops have been damaged, said growers. MLA Appacchu Ranjan said, "Though the state government has declared Somwarpet taluk as drought hit, it has not given any special projects for the district.