Coffee, pepper growers anxious over loss of crops

A coffee plant affected by rot disease.

Heavy rain lashing Kodagu district over the past few days has left the farming community worried.

The coffee and pepper growers are anxious about coffee plants and pepper vines contracting disease.

The leaves and coffee berries have started withering. Pepper grains have turned yellow in colour due to the increase of humidity.

If the intensity of rain remains the same for another week, 50% of the crops will be lost, said, growers.

Coffee Growers Association office-bearers said that the rot disease has largely spread in Napoklu, Bhagamandala, Ayyangeri, Tannimani, Cheyyandane, Kottamudi, Kakkabbe, Moornadu, Madapura, Suntikoppa, Kodagarahalli and Kambibane areas.

“Growers have toiled hard to cultivate Arabica and Robusta coffee plants all these years. All their efforts are going to waste as the plants are dying. The amount of rainfall is more than the normal this time. Continuous rains are also obstructing relief measures. Though farmers want to check the spread of the rot disease, they could not sprinkle any insecticides on the plants”, said, Thammaiah, a coffee grower from Napoklu.

The growers feel that all their calculations have gone wrong this time. The farmers did not expect such heavy rainfall. Some growers have not grafted the plants during the summer. Now, the coffee plants could not stand a chance before the excessive rain.

Adding to their misery, the market rates of coffee and pepper have fallen drastically. Growers and labourers who make their living only through these crops are affected the most.

Steep fall

The rates of horticultural crops have been dropping from last year and have not stabilised yet. Currently, the market rate of pepper is
Rs 280 per kg. Two years back, the rate was Rs 650 to Rs 700. Coffee prices have also seen a steep fall.

There was a huge demand for pepper from Kodagu district. The entry of low-quality pepper from Vietnam and the adulteration of pepper has decreased the demand for pepper, said, farmers.

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