This Summer’s Too Hot for Coffee
Industry estimates that this may result in a 10% fall in country’s coffee production
Kochi: Searing heat in the absence of summer rains has destroyed large tracts of coffee plantation in Karnataka, India’s coffee heartland, which accounts for more than 70% of the national production of the beverage.
The industry estimates that this may result in a 10% fall in the country’s coffee production in the ongoing season. “It is too ear- ly to quantify the exact extent of damage. Certain regions like Coorg have not received any rains and with temperatures at unprecedented level of 36 to 38 degree Celsius, the moisture in the soil is getting evaporated,” said Baba Estimated fall in coffee production in Kerala, the second largest producer Rise in coffee exports in 2016 till April 26 tonnes Exports till April 26, 2016
YOGEESH BS Bedi, chairman of Karnataka Planters’ Association.
Coffee Board has pegged postmonsoon coffee output for 2015-16 in the country at 3.5 lakh tonnes, nearly 70% of which is robusta variety. The destruction of the coffee plants will be reflected in the next forecast due by the end of May. The growers are concerned that the dry spell has hit the robusta plantations the most. “Robusta is not as deep-rooted as arabica and hence cannot withstand heat as much as the latter. The next couple of weeks are crucial and if the dry weather continues, then the effect could be quite damaging,” said grower and former Coffee Board member Anil Bhandari.
Last year, hot weather led to increased attack of the pest white stem borer in arabica. According to Bedi, the current weather may prove conducive to pest attack. Growers’ estimate of arabica is much less than the 1.07 lakh tonnes predicted by Coffee Board. Kerala too may report a thinner crop.