Shortage of labourers for coffee harvesting

Shortage of labourers for coffee harvesting

The harvesting season of coffee beans has started in the district. However, severe shortage of workers is forcing the coffee planters to depend on workers from Assam.

The local labourers from Eravaru and Jenukuruba communities were engaged in harvesting coffee in the estates from time immemorial. But in recent years, the district is facing severe shortage of workers and this has forced the coffee growers  to depend on workers from Assam who have no knowledge about coffee.

A coffee grower said, “The labourers from Assam have no knowledge about plucking coffee beans. One should be very careful while plucking the coffee beans and should ensure that the plant is not harmed. So, we have to with them while they pluck the coffee beans.”

Some growers have engaged labourers from Periyapatna and Hunsur taluks and are dropping them back to their houses on a daily basis after the work. The labourers, who arrive at 10 am have to return to their places after 4 pm. The wages are paid based on the quantity of the coffee berries they have plucked.

A P Kushalappa, another coffee grower, said, “Unable to cope with the shortage of labourers, some planters have leased their coffee crop to middlemen. They get the labourers to harvest the crop. The coffee harvesting should be completed by January-end. If the region gets pre-monsoon showers in February, then the plant starts flowering and harvesting at this stage will affect the next year’s crop.”

Shyam Monnappa of Thithimathi said, “The coffee growers are facing shortage of labourers. The labourers from Assam are not skilled in plucking coffee beans.”