SOMWARPET: The rising temperatures and a lack of rain have caused a desperate situation for coffee growers.
According to an estimate, nearly 30 per cent of the coffee plantations received blossom showers during March and April, while the remaining 70 per cent are yet to receive the first rainfall.
This situation might have a bearing on the prices of coffee and pepper in the coming season.
Last year, the total production of coffee in the country was 3.5 lakh tonnes while the district produced around 1.6 lakh tonnes of coffee, on an area of 1.10 lakh hectares. According to sources, this year, coffee production will be reduced by at least 20 per cent, due to insufficient and delayed rain, as well as rising temperatures.
Madikeri Coffee Board deputy director Ananth Kumar said delayed rain adversely affected young coffee plants and crop this year.
He said the Coffee Board will conduct pre-monsoon surveys in the month of May every year, to ascertain the production.
He said growers should maintain shade in estates, as temperatures had risen to 32 degrees in some parts of the district, causing dryness of soil.
In some dry areas where annual rainfall is below 50 inches, young plants wilted and died, even under the shade of trees.
In Banavara, Abburkatte, Yedavare and Yedavanadu, coffee growers are worried about crops wilting and dying. Coffee grower M L Ravi from Aigoor said growers are in distress owing to falling prices of coffee, and that delayed rains have added to their woes.
He said last year 50 kg Arabica coffee sold at Rs 10,000-Rs 10,200, but now, the price had fallen to Rs 8,200.