Labourer shortage affects coffee harvesting in Kodagu

Shortage of labourers affects coffee harvesting in Kodagu

Coffee berries ready for harvest in Napoklu.

The shortage of labourers has affected the harvesting of coffee in Kodagu district. While on the one hand, untimely rain in January had affected coffee harvesting, the shortage of labourers has further aggravated problems.

Owing to Covid-19 induced lockdown, the labourers from Assam had returned to their native in March-April and have not returned back to the district. 

The cloudy weather and untimely rain had affected the harvesting and drying of coffee in the month of January. Now, the Robusta coffee is also ready for harvest and the shortage of labourers has affected the harvesting process.

“Owing to the shortage of labourers, we are unable to store the harvested coffee as well,” said coffee grower Acchakalera Acchayya. 

The early blossoming of coffee plants has affected the growers. Normally, coffee plants blossom in March, after getting showers in the last week of February and in the first week of March. 

P V Manjunath, a coffee grower from Kunjila, said, “The price of coffee has not seen an upward trend for the last several years. Owing to the fault in processing the coffee, we are not getting a better price. The medium coffee growers are hit hard due to the shortage of labourers.” 

Coffee Board former vice president Dr Sannuvanda Kaverappa said, “Though the state government is earning good revenue from commercial crops of coffee, pepper, the government is not responding to the woes of the growers. The government should announce a suitable package for coffee growers on the lines of Kerala.” 

Biddatanda Jinnu Nanaiah, a grower from Napoklu said, “The growers were dependent on labourers from Assam all these years. Several labourers had returned to their native during the lockdown. Already, borer disease has infested several plants. If we fail to remove the fallen coffee berries, the borer disease will aggravate.”