Somwarpet: The Coffee Board and the State Government are committed to provide relief to coffee growers in the three districts of Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and Hassan who are in dire straits unable to harvest their crops due to incessant rains, decay and disease, said Coffee Board CEO and Secretary Dr. K.G. Jagadeesh.
He has been touring the coffee-producing districts and has been interacting with growers and officers to assess the damages caused by excess and untimely rains. Yesterday, Jagadeesh visited Srimangala in South Kodagu and surrounding areas and examined the decaying coffee fruits, also known as coffee cherry or coffee berry.
DCs to conduct survey
He has already requested the Deputy Commissioners to conduct a survey of losses suffered by coffee growers due to the heavy rains. An interim report will be submitted to the Government on the extent of loss.
According to the survey team, already 33 percent of coffee has been lost. If the rain continues, then the extent of the loss will be increased accordingly, he said. Officials will visit a minimum of 10 plantations in a village to assess the damage and will submit a report. If 33 percent of the crop is damaged, then growers in the entire village will get compensation, he said.
Coffee Board member Machamada Dali Chengappa, T.T. John, Zilla Raitha Sangha Secretary Ajjamada Chengappa, Manira Vijay Nanjappa of Belegarara Okkuta and others were present during the visit to coffee estates in Srimangala.
Along with the officers of the Coffee Board, the Revenue Department officials are doing the joint survey to assess the damage. During one of his meetings with growers held at the Journalists Association in Somwarpet on Tuesday, the CEO said that the Coffee Board will not take unilateral decision of disbursing the compensation but it will work along with the Revenue, Agriculture and Horticulture Departments to formulate a compensation policy to disburse relief.
Build green houses
Teams would assess and submit accurate details on the percentage of loss of coffee, area of coffee cultivation and the funds required for compensation as per the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) guidelines, he said. He added that the Board has recommended the Government to build green houses (poly houses) in each district to enable growers to dry their crops.
“Soggy coffee beans are no good to anyone and this is the reason, other coffee-cultivating nations dry their coffee beans on their farms inside green houses with the help of a smart solution called solar coffee bean dryers. With the help of the Government and village administrations, a designated place can be identified to set up these green houses where beans can be dried efficiently under the sun. Plastic sheeting is used as a cover and the sun takes care of drying. This way, growers can get more cash for their dry and better-quality beans,” he explained.
The Coffee Board cannot provide subsidies for the coffee drying machine. Instead, using the poly house facility, coffee can be dried. The poly house will also help in other horticulture crops, he explained.
The meeting was presided over by Somwarpet Taluk Coffee Growers Association President Bachinaadanda Mohan Bopanna who submitted a memorandum to the CEO highlighting the issues of crop loss, loans to buy horticulture implements and equipment and drying machines. Codagu Planters Association (CPA) Vice-Chairman B.V. Mohandas, former MLC S.G. Medappa, Coffee Board Madikeri Deputy Director B. Shivakumaraswamy and others were present.