Arabica coffee growers brace for poor harvest

Arabica coffee growers brace for poor harvest

Arabica coffee flowers have bloomed in one of the plantations in Somwarpet region.

A pall of gloom has descended on Arabica coffee growers in Somwarpet who are bracing up for a poor harvest caused by the untimely rains.

During the previous monsoon, which witnessed heavy rains, coffee growers had suffered huge crop loss. Most of the Arabica coffee plantations had been hit by the disease. Growers cheered when coffee plants survived in a handful of plantations and coffee buds were beginning to bloom. But their happiness did not last long, as untimely rain in different parts of the district has cast a cloud of suspicion on a bumper crop for coffee growers.

Unseasonable rains in this season could prove detrimental for the crop. More than 33% of the crop was lost due to natural calamity a year ago. According to officials in the Coffee Board, the loss in Arabica and Robusta coffee production was estimated at Rs 124.74 crore. If the flowers bloom in March, the harvest would be at the right time, informs coffee grower Tammaiah.

Some growers said that the quantity of rain does matter. Insufficient rain will trigger a partial bloom of coffee buds. Thus they were watering the plants using sprinklers to create a favourable condition and ensure the flowers bloom fully. Robusta coffee is grown in 5,690 hectares of land in the taluk.

A grower Nagesh said many coffee growers were facing financial problems as they were yet to receive compensation from the government. Coffee Board Senior officer Muralidhar said that the Robusta coffee blooms in the third week of February and during this time, coffee plants need to be watered sufficiently. Drip or sprinkler irrigation could be used until the flower blooms.

"The plants need to be watered for 21 days after the flowers bloom," he added.