In India rain fed agriculture is many parts of the country. The smile is there on the faces of the farmers growing the coffee in the regions in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu due to timely rainfall in the coffee growing regions. Timely blossoms and backing showers are crucial for the blossoming and setting of the crop. The coffee year is from October to September. The timely shower has brightened the prospects for good crop in 2018-19.
“So far, the crop setting has been good for both robusta and arabica varieties. If all goes well, we are likely to see one of the highest crops this year,” said Y Raghuramulu, Director Research, Coffee Board. The Board is currently in the process of estimating the post-blossom crop size.
For the robusta variety, which accounts for over two-thirds of the total output, 2018-19 is considered an ‘on year,’ during which production normally peaks. For the milder arabica variety, which is facing infestation of white-stem borer, the crop prospects are slightly dull, Raghuramulu further added.
Growers are a bit cautious on their coffee crop prospects for 2018-19. “So far, the conditions have been conducive to pick a good crop. But it is too early to talk of a crop size. A clearer picture will emerge by October/November,” said N Bose Mandanna, a large grower in Kodagu.
Some arabica regions in parts of Kodagu have received erratic blossom showers that could shrink the output in those areas, he said.
India’s coffee output, which peaked to a record high of 3.48 lakh tonnes in 2015-16, has come down in the subsequent years on account of erratic weather patterns impacting production.
HT Pramod, Chairman, Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA), said that besides labour shortage, growers are also facing a rise in input costs. While the costs are going up, the returns are declining and not enough to cover the cost of production, he said.
The KPA has urged the Union Government to waive and reduce the interest on coffee loans.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi