For the beleaguered growers of robusta coffees in Karnataka, the largest producer of the bean, the ongoing spell of rains has raised the hopes for next crop year starting October 2018.
The low pressure and depression off the West Coast has brought rains to several parts of the key coffee growing regions of Kodagu, Chikmagaluru and Hassan among other districts in Karnataka, which accounts for over 70 per cent of the coffee produced in the country.
The pre-monsoon showers are crucial for blossoming of the coffee floral buds. The blossom showers and the subsequent backing showers are crucial for a good crop. Traditionally, the robusta and arabica areas should receive pre-monsoon showers by March 15 and April 15, respectively, for a good blossom, growers said.
“For the growers who had taken up irrigation through sprinklers for robustas from late February and where coffee has blossomed, the current spell of rains are acting as backing showers,” said HT Pramod, Chairman, Karnataka Planters’ Association. The rains will be of some help for the growers, who have harvested a poor robusta crop this year.
“The current spell of rains are good for the coffee sector as a whole. However, the rainfall has not been uniform and several robusta areas in Kodagu have not received the rains. The forecast is that it would rain for the next two days and we are hoping for some good showers,” said N Bose Mandanna, a grower in Suntikoppa.
Coffee growers have suffered from a poor crop and bearish price trend this year. Robusta growers have seen their crop shrink by up to 40 per cent in several areas on account of erratic rainfall last year.