Agriculture World

Covid-19 Lockdown Left Karnataka Coffee Growers in Huge Loss

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

As the COVID-19 prevailed in Karnataka added to the distress and losses due to rains, floods, and landslides over the past two years forced the state coffee farmers into crisis says, trade representative.

“Even as were are fight the fallout of floods and landslides on a plantation in the state, over the last 2 years, the extended COVID lockdown increased our losses for us as it disrupted the operations and damaged coffee beans,”  said Karnataka Planters' Association Chairman Shirish Vijayendra, who belong to Chikmagalur, about 240 km northwest of Bengaluru to the IANS.

On March 25 when the lockdown was implemented, plucking of Arabica and Robusta was almost getting over. However, the extended lockdown prevented the coffee growers from trading, curing, and exporting coffee in seed and powder form. No movement of public transport.

As the migrants from Tamil Nadu and Kerala left back to their villages to avoid coronavirus infection, the movement of harvested coffee for further process like curing was affected.

"As work in plantations came to a grinding halt due to lockdown restrictions, growers had no income as beans couldn't be processed for sale or curing and trading for domestic consumption or exports,” added Vijayendra.

Although numerous restrictions for the agriculture sector were eased after the initial 21 days lockdown, the plantation commodity sectors like coffee, tea, rubber, and spices, were not removed from restrictions as they are considered commercial crops and not exempted from taxes and other central or state levies.

Coffer production in the state declined by 50 percent in 2019-20 and 35 percent in 2018-19 due to heavy rains, floods, and landslides, fall of prices in the international market also add to the losses.

Dry weather and drought in the last three consecutive years due to the uncertain southwest monsoon and rise in wages and social benefits to the workers shot up the production cost affect the profits.

According to the Association, harvesting Robusta crops created a loss of Rs 131 crore, in Arabica and Robusta gleaning stand at Rs 88 crore. Being the largest producer of aromatic beans, Karnataka accounts for about 70 percent of coffee production in the country.

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