Coorg Wildlife Society President Col (retd) C P Muthanna has said that coffee cultivation, which is considered as the lifeline of the people of Kodagu, has not harmed environment. No restrictions should be imposed on farming practices which are being followed for more than 100 years in the district.
Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, he said that in the wake of opposition to the Dr Madhav Gadgil committee recommendations, the Centre had constituted committee headed by Kasturirangan. Members of the Society had met the Kasturirangan’s committee recently and raised objections to a few recommendations made in the Madhav Gadgil report.
“We will accept a few recommendations made by Gadgil on the need for conserving rivers, flora and fauna of the Western Ghats. However, the recommendation that horticulture crops, especially coffee, will have its impact on the bio-diversity cannot be accepted. Coffee is being grown under huge trees in Kodagu. Along with coffee, growers also plant fruit bearing trees. Coffee is grown on slopes and paddy is grown on plain land.”
He said: “We are also opposed to the recommendation of restrictions on use of pesticides. Without the use of pesticides, coffee cannot be grown. There is a need to create awareness on the ill-effects of excessive use of pesticides and convince growers to go for alternative methods to save the plants. At the same time, the report said that there should not be a single-crop pattern on private land in Western Ghats region. This recommendation has created fear in the minds of the farmers. The recommendation should not be accepted. Instead, farmer should be given the choice of growing crops,” he added.
Muthanna said that the Society will welcome the recommendation to declare Kodagu as eco-sensitive zone. As per the recommendations, there is a need to place restriction on the conversion of agriculture land.
The recommendation should clearly mention that farm land and coffee plantations should not be used for non-agriculture activities. There is a need to check real estate business wherein agriculture land is being converted into non-agriculture purpose. “We will welcome the recommendations of the committee on giving forest rights to the forest dwellers as per Forest Rights Act. Instead of allowing the forest dwellers to reside inside the forest, they should be allowed to reside on the periphery of the forest. If they are allowed to reside inside the forest, then authorities will not be able to provide basic facilities to the forest dwellers.”
Society vice president B A Poonaccha, secretary Shyama Appanna and others were present.