Coffee growers worried over berry borer disease

Picked robusta crops of severely affected.

Disease: A partial view of the coffee beans affected by Berry borer disease. Dh photo

The picked crop of Robusta has been severely affected and the growers have lost up to 50 per cent of the turn out. The Berry Borer is being noticed now in almost all the areas of the coffee growing regions. This has created fear among the growers as the grower is not sure whether the crop he going to harvest will have the berries or the borer worm.

A release from Karnataka Growers Federation alleged that the Coffee Board seem to be taking a lethargic view on this as the Chairman is more interested in making foreign tours at the Government expense. The board has not had the courtesy to convene a meeting of growers organisations to discuss the problem and to evolve a integrated control method. The board does not even anticipate the severity of the pest. The much needed Broca traps are in short supply,” the release informed.

KGF urged the Board to take steps to supply the traps to the small growers at free of cost, supply of Baveria baccilosporus which is the bio-control agent and mass contact programme with the growers to create awareness, lest the pest may spread to uncontrollable proposition and the growers will be forced to abandon their plantations.”

White Stem Borer

The release stated that the white stem borer has again started to spread rampantly and this has  added to the problems of the growers as this has caused significant crop and capital loss.

Moreover, hailstones have damaged several acres of plantation in Gadabanahalli, Hashallipete. Mylemony and adjoining areas. The hailstones were of half the size of the cricket ball. This has resulted in wide spread damage to the property, crop and death of birds and animals. The coffee crop has been damaged up to 80 per cent and as the fresh woods have also been damaged the next crop will be severely affected.
The grower may not even get 50 kgs per acre. This has completely shattered the growers of the region.
The Coffee Board Chairman should visit the regions along with the scientist to asses the damage and give a report to the Ministry. Copper sulphate and other fungicides should be immediately supplied to the affected growers at the cost of the board. Special compensation should be announced to the growers of the region. A coffee calamity fund has to be created to look into the natural calamities as the compensation given in the natural calamity fund is too meagre for the growers.
The Agriculture Insurance Company should include the damages due to hailstones with a separate clause, a specific premium and a insurance cover.

A delegation will meet the Ministry of Commerce to discuss the relief package for the coffee  growers soon.
 The delegation will also include  the elected representatives of the coffee growing regions.

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