Unseasonable rainfall damages coffee crop

The Coffee Board was assessing the loss of coffee crop in the coffee growing areas of the State, including Kodagu, and the loss could be more if the cloudy weather accompanied by sporadic rains continued, a statement received from the Coffee Board said here on Saturday.

Rainfall in the last week of December 2009 had indeed affected coffee crop, the statement said, asking the Arabica and Robusta growers to take certain steps to minimise further loss. Rainfall had occurred since December 25, 2009 continuously for over five days. Nearly 30 per cent of the Arabica crop is yet to be picked and due to the rains, berries were falling down. Loss could be higher if the same weather situation continues for a few more days.

According to the press statement, both Arabica and Robusta had ripened three weeks before time this year. Growers should take steps to pick Arabica coffee from the plants as early as possible and convert them into parchment (peeling the outer cover and convert them as beans) varieties to maintain quality. If the crop was left unattended on the plants it could result in poor quality of the product, the statement said.

Similarly, Robusta coffee, which is ready for picking later than Arabica, too had ripened in many areas of the district, including 100 per cent in certain places.

But, since flower buds had already appeared on the Robusta plants, it would prevent the growers from picking coffee as up to 40 per cent of the buds are expected to flower in the first week of January. Cloudy weather could further affect the ripened berries resulting in shedding. The board advised the growers to stop picking Robusta for at least the next one week.

-The Hindu

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