Coffee industry in major crisis, says study



This, coupled with the debts of coffee growers increasing manifold, the distress sale of coffee estates and global warming has put the coffee industry in the country in a major crisis which requires urgent support from the government.

These findings figured in a status paper on coffee in India prepared by the Coffee Growers Federation by compiling inputs from growers spread across the State. The paper was formally released by the MP from Mysore-Coorg constituency, H Vishwanath at a function organised by the Federation at Veterinary Science College in Hebbal. 

Elaborating on the problems faced by growers, the paper said that the coffee industry had plunged into a financial crisis due to un-remunerative coffee prices from 1999-2000 to 2004-05. Coffee farmers also had to face the onslaught of erratic weather: drought during the two coffee seasons of 2002-2003 and 2003-04 and heavy rainfall in 2006-07 & 2007-08. This led to severe infestation of pest and disease-like white stem borer and leaf rust which resulted in significant crop loss, and also significant plant loss of about 30-35 per cent.

The growers had incurred huge losses for nearly four years years, the report observed. The loans have increased manifold now and become un-serviceable, which has pushed the coffee farmers into a debt trap.

Global warming has also put the future of 25 million coffee farmers and workers in underdeveloped and developing countries at stake, it said. A combination of factors  has significantly affected the ecology of plantation belts.

Climate change has directly affected coffee farms worldwide. Due to change in monsoon dynamics, a time may arrive when coffee may not be the preferred crop inside coffee forests. This could pose serious ecological damage across the length and breadth of the coffee mountain, the paper warned.

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