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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Coffee growers sip their cup of cheer

Coffee farmers are all smiles, with their produce fetching a high price this year. Aided by a dip in international production due to bad weather conditions there, and less stock entering the market, prices are looking north.

On Thursday, Arabica Parchment sold for Rs 9,250 per bag of 50 kg, Arabica Cherry for Rs 4,750 per bag, Robusta Parchment for Rs 4,100 a bag, and Robusta Cherry for Rs 2,550 per bag.

Confirming the prices, Kabir, a coffee dealer, said that adverse weather is still disrupting harvesting and transportation in many countries, and affecting short-term supplies.

However, difficulties continue to dog the coffee industry, particularly because of the borer disease. Former chairman of the Coffee Board Bose Mandanna said that compared to last year’s figures, this year, only 25% of the coffee entered the market. During the last monsoon, showers were not timely, there were long spells of rain and the cold weather gave rise to the berry borer disease.

This year, the high price has helped overcome last year’s losses, said Nanda Belliappa, Coffee Board member. “But production is less, and the scarcity of labourers is forcing growers to engage temporary hands at high wages. Manure prices have also shot up,” he said.

The International Coffee Organisation estimates production at 134.6 million bags of coffee for 2010-11 across the globe. Indian traders have exported 2,91,685 tonne of coffee from January 2010 to December 2010 for Rs 3,013 crore, reveals the Coffee Board report.

Estimated production this year

* Arabica Coffee

India: 95,000 tonne (total)

Karnataka: 75,525 tonne

Kodagu: 20,900 tonne

* Robusta Coffee

India: 2,04,000 tonne (total)

Karnataka: 1,36,290 tonne

Kodagu: 88,600 tonne

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`Implement coffee package as it is’

Kodagu Growers Federation and Jaya Karnataka have urged the banks to implement Rs 241.33 crore coffee package announced by the Union government as it is, without any change. 

 Addressing a press meet, Federation office-bearer Madhu Bopanna and Jaya Karnataka district President Robin Kuttappa said the Union government had announced coffee package when the coffee growers were in distress owing to the failure of monsoon and steep fall in the prices of coffee. However, the banks have failed to implement the package effectively.

Citing silly reasons, some banks have been coming in the way of implementing coffee package. Few banks are also stating that they are yet to get order on coffee package. Hence, the banks are not seriously thinking of implementing coffee package, they alleged.

“Few bank officials are engaged in cheating the growers by stating that loan waiver facility will be given to those growers who have repaid the loan fully. If the banks forcibly recover loan borrowed by the growers, then we will stage protest in front of such banks,” they warned.

Apex banks and DCC banks should take the responsibility to bear the amount of loan waiver of the co operative banks. If the banks fail to implement coffee package in Madikeri taluk within a week, then we will stage protest in front of banks, they said. 

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Coffee price rise bring smiles on growers’ faces

After the country experienced the rise in the price of onion, now it is the turn of coffee.

Arabica coffee has recorded all time high price and has brought back ‘smile’ on the face of the growers. The steep decline in the production of coffee has resulted in the rise in price of coffee.

It was said that the production of Arabica coffee has been reduced by 30 per cent in Brazil, Columbia and India during the year. Moreover, the rise in the demand for coffee in the international market, price of Arabica has reached all time high.

At present, the market price of Arabica parchment coffee for 50 kg is Rs 9,500. Arabica cherry fetches Rs 4,500 to Rs 4,800. In 1994, Arabica parchment coffee was fetching Rs 8,500 (for 50 kg bag).

The shortage in supply of Arabica coffee led to the increase in the price. At the same time, untimely rain in coffee growing region, berry border disease, shortage of labour led to the decline in the production, feels growers.

According to Coffee Board estimate, the country should have produced 3,03,000 metric tonne coffee.

However, the actual production was 2,80,000 metric tonne. One third of the total coffee is produced in Kodagu. In Kodagu, the Coffee Board had expected that about 20,000 metric tonne Arabica coffee would have been produced.

However, the actual production would have been between 16000 to 17,000 metric tonne, said Coffee grower P K Devaiah.

Irregular coffee shower, increase in rainy season led to berry borer disease affecting the coffee. Owing to the shortage of labours the growers are finding it difficult to maintain coffee estates, which in turn has affected the production, say some of the growers.

As maintenance of Arabica coffee estate is becoming expensive, many growers have started showing interest in growing Robasta coffee. About 82 per cent of coffee estate in Kodagu were Arabica coffee in 1960s.

However, at present 80 per cent is Robasta and 20 per cent is Arabica coffee.
As there was less availability of Arabica coffee in America, Germany and Italy, many growers feel that the Robasta may also fetch good price this year.

India and Uganda produces best quality of Robasta coffee in the world. At present, Robasta cherry is fetching Rs 2,600 (50 kg bag) and Parchment is fetching Rs 4,200.


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. 


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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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