VISAKHAPATNAM: Coffee production in Araku Agency is expected to witness a drastic fall as thousands of coffee plants have been destroyed by Hudhud cyclone, which also uprooted many silver Oak trees. Pepper creepers too were destroyed in large numbers, and a serious fall in pepper production is expected.
Andhra Pradesh contributes significantly to coffee production in the country. According to Coffee Board of India officials, the Vizag Agency produces around 6,000 tonne coffee every year. AP accounts for 12 percent of the total coffee production in South India; Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu share the remaining 88 percent of production.
The strong gale uprooted thousands of silver Oak trees, which provide shade. The trees fell on cofee plants, causing more damage.
There are around 50,000 hectares of coffee and pepper plantations in Andhra-Odisha Border area. Out of these, officials estimate that coffee plantations in around 15,000 hectares were completely damaged and another 12,500 hectares are partially hit. Around 60,000 silver Oak trees have been uprooted.
Every year, coffee beans are collected during the winter season and sale starts by December. But the cyclone had a severe impact on the crop and the growers are left in the lurch.
Former member of Coffee Board, D Bojjayya said a new coffee sapling would take minimum five to eight years to grow, while a damaged coffee plant would take at least two years to rise again. It might take a minimum of eight years for the silver oaks to grow fully.