Incentives to boost honey production in Kodagu

Coorg Honey and Wax Producers’ Cooperative Society at Virajpet in Kodagu will offer concessions to its members to encourage honey production in the district, president of the society K.K. Mandanna said on Friday.

Addressing presspersons here, he said the society would provide 25 per cent concession on beehives made of teakwood. The cost of the each unit was Rs. 2,000. “Honey family”, comprising bees and honeycomb, too was being given concession up to 50 per cent. Besides, the Department of Horticulture here was supplying material needed for beekeeping by providing 25 per cent concession. The Dharmastala Gramabhyudaya Samste too was offering concessions on purchase of beehives.

Mr. Mandanna said the society had processed 60,000 kg of honey procured from different parts of the district, mainly Makutta and Thithimathi.

There was a demand for one lakh kg of honey in Kodagu every year, he said, and urged farmers to take to beekeeping to meet the demand. He did not rule out adulteration of honey by some persons in Kodagu, especially while selling it to tourists. The society sold “Agmark” certified honey. The society’s annual turnover was Rs. 1.5 crore, he said.

The former president of the society Chiriyapanda Raja Nanjappa said that honey was not being bought by the society from outside the district or State. He ruled out adulteration of honey sold by the society. The “Thai sac brood” disease played havoc some years ago, affecting honey production in the district. Honey production had improved now, Mr. Nanjappa said.

B.C. Somaiah, member of the society, was present.

-The Hindu

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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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