'Coffee crop to be extended in traditional lands'

Coffee Board Secretary M Chandrashekhar said that there was a need to extend the coffee cultivation to traditional lands.

“Accurate information on the extension of coffee-growing lands used to be available during the times when the coffee market was in the control of the Coffee Board. Also, the details of crop loss could be known. But, these details became inaccessible ever since coffee made its way to the open market,” he explained.

He was speaking during the Coffee Kshetrothsava held on the premises of the Coffee Research Centre in Balehonnur on Monday. He further said that various schemes pertaining to the coffee crop have been dependent on the funds released by the Central Government.

“Plans are on to introduce coffee cultivation to West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. Satellite surveys are being carried out to identify the land on which coffee is grown and also the quantity of coffee grown. With the latest technology, the coffee plants grown in shades, can also be identified. This is being done in three regions of Karnataka on a pilot basis and will be extended to other areas in future,” he added.

Dr K N Pradeep said that the coffee growers are in panic, due to the loss of Arabica coffee crop, caused by white borer.

“The yield has been reduced to 300 kg an acre. Many growers are hoping for a solution to the white borer problem and are expecting the Coffee Research Centre to come up with a solution. If the spread of the disease continues, the Arabica coffee will vanish in future,” he said with worry.

“The erratic rainfall and unfavourable climate conditions have resulted in a loss of 30 to 40 percent of the crop. In India, coffee is grown under shades,” he said and urged the Coffee Board to make efforts towards fetching a good market rate to coffee in the International Market. “Also, researches have to be carried out on the possible adverse effects on the Western Ghats, due to felling of other trees, in a bid to plant coffee,” he added.

Subbegowda a senior Coffee grower from Mudigere, inaugurated the programme and said that the Coffee Board is supportive to the progress of coffee growers. He recalled that he had planted 6,000 coffee saplings of S 795 variety in 1955, obtained from the Coffee Board.

Chandrashekhar suggested the coffee growers to form cooperative societies and to make the transactions through the society. The Board would provide support price of Rs four a kilo of coffee, if the growers do so.

Coffee Grower Kauli Shrinivas said that the post of the president of Coffee Board is lying vacant the last six months.

He meanwhile urged to appoint coffee growers to the post of the president and general secretary.

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