315 hectares of coconut crop dry

Farmers in C'magaluru take to axing the coconut trees and replacing them with other crops

Severe drought across the district has taken a heavy toll on coconut trees in Chikkamagaluru and Kadur taluks.

Coconut trees on thousands of acres of land have dried out and the farmers are in distress. According to the Horticulture Department officials, coconut trees on 315 hectares of land in Lakhya hobli of Chikkamagaluru have been destroyed with the prevailing drought condition. A large area of coconut groves in Kadur, Birur, Sakharayapattana, and Kasaba hobli too have been affected.

Lack of rain
The coconut trees were not damaged during monsoon period. However, it was due to lack of north-east monsoon rain that coconut trees on 96 hectare land in Kadur taluk were affected according to a survey. The intense heat from January to April has taken a toll on the trees. Now, the officials from the Departments of Horticulture, Revenue and Agriculture are conducting a joint survey to assess the damage, said officials from the Horticulture Department.

Some of the farmers are struggling to save their trees with whatever water is available in their borewells. Also, with the trees drying, the price of tender coconut has increased from Rs 25 to Rs 30.

Ramanna, a farmer from Belavadi, said, “Coconut trees at Belavadi were damaged a decade ago. Now, the drought has taken a toll on the trees at Kalasapura and surrounding villages also.”

Prakash, a farmer from Kalasapura, said, “I was getting 30,000 coconuts from a five-acre land every year. I was fetching an annual income of Rs 3 lakh from the sale of coconuts and copra. The trees started drying and withering in the last two years. I had sunk seven borewells on my land but all of them are defunct. This year, I may not even get 5,000 coconuts,” adding with disappointment, “I have felled the dried trees and sold the timber for Rs 100 to Rs 500.”

Trees axed
Farmers at Belavadi, Kalasapura, Ishwarahalli, Sadarahalli, Sindigere and Lakhya are felling the dried trees and levelling the land to grow alternative crops.

“Only Tarikere farmers still have some relief with their coconut trees, since compared to Kadur and Chikkamagaluru taluks, the crop in Tarikere has not dried. The yield, however, has come down by 50%. The arecanut and coconut crops can be saved only if the region gets rain in the next 20 days,” said Basavaraju, a farmer from Chikkanavangala.

Soma, a farmer from Belavadi, said, “My livelihood was based on 30 coconut trees. All the trees have dried. I do not have work and source of livelihood now.”

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