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Coffee production to be down by 50% due to floods in North Kodagu region, country’s premier coffee producing area

Coffee production in the country is expected to fall by over fifty per cent during the current year due extensive crop damage in the flash floods and heavy rains in the North Kodagu region during the last one week. 

The Industry experts also say the rains may have a major impact on coffee output this season and they expect a 50 per cent production drop in all coffee growing districts of Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and Sakleshpur (Hassan). The three districts in Karnataka produce an estimated 70 per cent of India's coffee. 

The unprecedented rains that triggered flash floods and landslides have delivered a deadly blow to several small and marginal coffee planters in North Kodagu, bordering Kerala. It isn't coffee alone. Spices like black pepper and cardamom produced in the coffee estates have also been severely hit. "We reckon at least about 5,000 acres of coffee estates in Kodagu have been destroyed," said Spokesperson of the Industry in Kodagu. 

Rain has completely wiped out arecanut crop this year. The fungal disease that has infected the trees due to very heavy rains has resulted in all the young fruit fall off completely.

Because of the rains, coffee berries have fallen off and there is an outbreak of fungal diseases."

The blow comes at a time when the industry was already battling falling prices, labor shortage and high wages. Big players like Tata Coffee are staring at a major cut in crop output. They are also battling infrastructure damage, like roads, bridges, labor quarters and other properties insides estates. "We are working out various mechanisms to check coffee berry fall and to battle diseases to ensure a decent output. But small growers are going to be really badly hit," said a Tata Coffee manager. 

Aspiring for a coffee plantation of his own, a retired Army officer had invested his life's savings in developing a four-acre barren plot near Madikeri. After eight years of toil, he was getting ready to reap dividends. But just before midnight on August 17, a huge landslip reduced his estate into a pile of mud.
"I can't even recognize the boundary of my plantation now," the farmer told a local newspaper . "I don't know what the future holds for me now."  This is the fate of hundreds of small coffee growers in the North Kodagu region which witnessed heavy rains and flash floods.


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