Central govt releases ` 50 crore for coffee growers in State

 Coffee Board members said that the Union government has released a sum of Rs 50 crore for the purchase of equipment by the coffee growers. The funds must be utilised by the month end.

 Addressing a press meet, Coffee Board members Nanda Belliappa and Chandramathi Ganesh said the amount released is to be distributed as financial assistance for the growers for the purchase of farm implements. If the growers make use of it, then they can solve 30 per cent of shortage of labourers problem.

They said if the growers are in need of equipment, then they can submit demand for the same through the association. The Coffee Board will discuss on the issue once in three months during its meeting.

“The change in the price of coffee has affected the coffee industry. The price of coffee is not on par with the international market. After Coffee Act 1994, the Coffee Board lost its hold over the price of coffee. The Coffee Board has already written a letter to the Centre to set right the loopholes in the Act,” said Belliappa.

“There is difference between the price of coffee in the international market and the price given by the agency while purchasing the coffee. In this background, the Coffee Board had started sending SMSes to members on the international price of coffee daily.
However, owing to technical problem, we were not getting the details on the price for the last few days. Now the Coffee Board technical staff has already started sending SMSes again,” said Chandramathi Ganesh.

Belliappa said “the implementation of coffee package is in its final stage. Some banks have not submitted their claims under the scheme. February 28 was the last date for submitting the claims to the Coffee Board. In the meantime, in a meeting, all the banks placed a request to extend the last date by a week to submit the claims.”

A total of Rs 250 crore claims have been submitted. The Coffee Board is in need of additional Rs 60 crore to Rs 70 crore. The Board has already written a letter to the government in this regard, he added.

There is no uniformity in the implementation of coffee package and loan waiver scheme under Vidharbha scheme or Prime Minister’s loan waiver scheme. In this background, all the banks have been directed to use a uniform guidelines, he added.

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-DHNS

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Protection for coffee growers against vagaries of rain

Madikeri:The Rainfall Insurance Scheme for Coffee (RISC) from Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd. (AIC) could come as a boon to growers in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu looking to protect themselves from the risk of excessive or deficient rainfall.

However, with not much time left to avail themselves of the benefits of the scheme, growers will have to fill the application and submit it to the Coffee Board offices before June 30.

The RISC was designed in consultation with the Coffee Board, the Central Coffee Research Institute and coffee growers of Karnataka, N. Rangaswamy Reddy, Deputy Director (Extension) Coffee Board, Kodagu, told The Hindu on Friday. The policy will compensate the insured against the likelihood of diminished coffee output or yield resulting from excessive or deficient rainfall, within a specific geographical location, time and period.

Sub-zones

In Karnataka, as many as 55 sub-zones have been identified — 27 in Kodagu, 17 in Chikmagalur and 11 in Hassan districts — as rain reference gauge stations where telemetric rain gauges have been installed.

The sub-zones identified in Kodagu are Gonicoppa, Thithimathi, Madikeri, Murnad, Makkandur, Napoklu or Yavakapadi, Cherambane, Karada, Shanivarasante, Harakanahalli, Siddapur, Ammathi, Maldare, Somwarpet, Abburkatte, Basavanahalli, Hanagodu, Shantalli, Srimangala, Vatekolli, Nagarahole, Sunticoppa, Chettalli, Valnur, Madapura, Garwale and Virajpet.

Any grower cultivating Robusta and Arabica in the selected sub-zones in Karnataka, subject to a cap of holding within 10 hectares (25 acres), is eligible to buy the insurance, Mr. Reddy said.

Large growers (with holdings above 25 acres) would have to pay double the premium.

Details of premiums for the 27 sub-zones in Kodagu could be had from the junior or senior liaison officer of the Coffee Board or the office of the Deputy Director of the Board here, he said.

Insurance period

The insurance period for “monsoon showers” would be from July 1 to September 30. Growers could opt for single package insurance, or both monsoon insurance and post-monsoon insurance put together.

 – The Hindu

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Rains prove dear

Arabica coffee beans are withering away due to the incesant, untimely rains that has been lashing over the Chikmagalur district over the last 6 days. 

 
 Arabica coffee beans are withering away due to the incesant, untimely rains that has been lashing over the district over the last 6 days. It is said that about 50 per cent of arabica crops and about 30 per cent of robusta crops have been lost, said Karnataka Coffee Growers’ Association President Dr N K Pradeep.

He said that robusta plants are bearing blossom, which indicates that the yield will be lesser next year. “Coffee sector has incurred loss of Rs 1,000 crore over the last 3 years. If the Centre does not understand the gravity of the situation and release special package, then lot of growers will be compelled to end their lives,” he said.

Coffee growers of Hassan, Kodagu and Chikmagalur district are all facing same problems. He said that intense protest will be staged if the banks pressurise the farmers to repay the loans. Coffee Board President Krishna Rao will visit the district on January 2 and inspect the region and then submit a report to the government, he said.

25 pc paddy loss in Kodagu
Madikeri: As much as 25 per cent of coffee crops have been estimated to be lost over the last 5 days owing to the unseasonal rains that has been lashing over the district. The rains continued washing away little hopes left in the farmers of sun shine. Though there are no statistics available about paddy loss, it is estimated to be at 25 per cent.

Joint Director of Agriculture K R Krishnaiah said that Assistant Directors of all the three taluks have been directed to submit a report of loss.  Coffee Board is still on with its survey works to estimate the loss but the growers say that the coffee loss mounts to 25 per cent. 

-DHNS

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Kodagu stays on top in coffee output

Kodagu, Chikmaglur and Hassan districts have asserted their prominence in coffee cultivation, production, extent of holdings and number of holders, plantation areas and productivity, apart from a high degree of quality of the produce. Kodagu is well-known for coffee cultivation in India.

The post-blossom coffee production for 2008-09 in Kodagu was estimated at 1,14,370 tonnes, the highest in the country. This included 90,000 tonnes of Robusta and 24,370 tonnes of Arabica, followed by Chikmaglur with 71,750 tonnes, including 32,900 tonnes of Robusta and 38,850 tonnes of Arabica. The production projected for Hassan district was 28,050 tonnes, including 10,000 tonnes of Robusta and 18,050 tonnes of Arabica, according to information gathered from the Database on Coffee of the Coffee Board. Robusta is the dominant crop in Kodagu, while Arabica is popular in Chikmaglur and Hassan districts. Karnataka accounted for 2,14,170 tonnes of coffee production in the country of the estimated 2,93,000 tonnes (post-blossom estimate) for 2008-09. Karnataka accounted for 70.1 per cent of the country’s production, followed by Kerala with 21.8 per cent, Tamil Nadu 6.2 per cent, and non-traditional areas such as Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and certain parts of north-eastern regions 1.9 per cent.

The Deputy Director of the Coffee Board (Extension), Kodagu, Rangaswamy Reddy, told The Hindu that the bearing area in the country in 1950-51 was 92,523 hectares. It increased to 3,50,500 hectares in 2008-09. The production-level too increased tremendously from a mere 18,893 tonnes to 2,93,000 tonnes (as per the post-blossom estimate for 2008-09). In terms of productivity too, there had been an increase. During 1950-51, Arabica productivity stood at 229 kg/ hectare, while Robusta was 136 kg/hectare. During 2008-09, the corresponding figures are 508 and 942.

-Jeevan chinnappa (The Hindu)

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‘Compensation if 50 p.c. crop loss is reported’

Unseasonable rains in the last week of December 2009 have wrought havoc on coffee plantations in Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts.

The growers are not sure whether compensation would be provided for the damages caused to the standing coffee crop by the unseasonable rainfall in the recent past. During the year 2009-10 (till October 5, 2009), 18,914 growers in Kodagu submitted applications to the Coffee Board here seeking compensation for crop loss. But, the Board recommended payment of compensation to 359 applicants who reported over 50 per cent crop loss.

Deputy Director (Extension) of the Board, N. Rangaswamy Reddy, told The Hindu on Thursday that 8,471 applications were received from the Gonicoppa, Srimangala, Siddapur and Virajpet in the Virajpet taluk, 5,272 applications from Madikeri and Napoklu zones in Madikeri taluk, and 5,171 from the Somwarpet, Sunticoppa and Shanivarasante zones in Somwarpet taluk.

However, the crop loss, covering mainly Robusta variety, was found to be high in the Napoklu zone of Madikeri taluk, ranging from eight to 35 per cent (except in 10 villages). The survey team assessed the loss after the monsoon, Mr. Reddy said. The unseasonable rains in the district in the last week of December was not taken into account while assessing the loss. Over 70 per cent of Arabica crop had been harvested before the unseasonable rains, he added.

Loss due to excessive rainfall, damage to plants because of trees falling down, wind, pest attacks and other reasons in Madikeri zone was assessed between five to 10 per cent. It was between five to 30 per cent in Somwarpet zone, five to 32 per cent in the Sunticoppa zone and six to 16 per cent in the Shanivarasante zone, all in the northern parts of the district. In the southern parts of Kodagu, loss was put between six and 12 per cent in Gonicoppa zone, between five and 25 per cent in the Srimangala zone, between five and 15 per cent in the Siddapur zone and between 12 and 23 per cent in the Virajpet zone. The question of paying compensation would arise only if 50 per cent crop loss was reported, Mr. Reddy clarified.

-The Hindu

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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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Coffee crop loss assessment sought

Madikeri: Newly appointed Coffee Board members from Kodagu, A. Nanda Belliappa, Chandramati Ganesh and Faiz Musa Kutty have urged the Board to send a team of officials to Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts within a week’s time to assess the coffee crop loss following unseasonal rainfall in the last few days.

Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Belliappa, who represents large growers on the Board, said that rains had wrought havoc on fully ripe Arabica coffee, Robusta also to a certain extent, in the coffee growing districts of Kodagu, Chikmaglur and Hassan. Ripe berries were falling off the plants because of the excess rains. Many growers have lost up to 20 to 50 per cent of the standing coffee crop.

However, the members wanted the Coffee Board team to visit the plantations personally to assess the exact loss, he said.

Chandramati Ganesh, a member representing the small growers on the Board, said the growers in Kodagu suffered heavy losses in the past three years because of the vagaries of nature such as excess unseasonal rainfall and pest infestations. She suggested that the team should submit a report to the Board after assessing crop loss. The report should be placed before the Board meeting scheduled to be held in Bangalore on January 7, she added.

In reply to a query on the non-payment of compensation to growers for crop loss in Kodagu during 2007-08 and 2008-09, Mr. Belliappa and Ms. Ganesh said they would talk to the Deputy Commissioner in that regard. The Swaminathan Committee had recommended payment of a compensation of Rs. 1,500 crore for various kinds of crop loss in Kerala during 2006. They said that the Government should announce such a package for coffee growers who had suffered crop loss in the three districts.

According to Mr. Belliappa, H. Vishwanath, Mysore MP, and R. Dhruvanarayan, Chamarajanagar MP, have written to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to issue directions to the banks through the Reserve Bank of India not to pressure coffee growers to clear their loans till a special debt relief package was announced. He added that the banks were forcing the growers to settle their accounts under the One-Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme. He showed copies of the letters issued by banks to coffee growers to clear their debt to presspersons.

Mr. Belliappa said there were at least three proposals sent by various coffee organisations to the Union Commerce Ministry seeking debt relief package. The Coffee Board, in association with a few growers’ organisations, had submitted a proposal seeking Rs. 805-crore debt waiver package. It would definitely come through in a few days as it was before the Union Cabinet, Mr. Belliappa said.

In reply to a query, he said that the proposal was not held up by the Government because the large growers wanted the loans availed by them for purchase of plantations included in the package. The vice-president of the Karnataka Growers’ Federation, Basappa, said it was only a ploy of certain growers to mislead the growers’ community.

When asked whether the coffee growers had held back stocks in anticipation of remunerative price, Mr. Faiz Musa Kutty, who represents the curers on the Coffee Board, said no such thing had happened. He added that it is estimated that the coffee produce will be down by 30 per cent this year.

B.M. Suresh, president of the Somwarpet Taluk Coffee Growers’ Association, said Arabica growers, particularly in and around Somwarpet taluk, had suffered crop loss for over a decade now. The main reason for crop loss was excess rainfall and pests.

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-The Hindu