December 3, 2015
The rains in the State and Coimbatore have played truant with coffee and tea too as they have with a lot many other things.
Yercaud is home to several coffee estates. This is the season when coffee is sourced from the estates. However, the rains have damaged anywhere between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of the coffee crops that are grown in the estates in Yercaud.
The green expanses of coffee plantations now do not sport such a nice look. The winds and rains have uprooted trees that have fallen in between the coffee plants.
“There are hundreds of coffee species. However, the two blends that are widely produced and sold are Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (also known as Coffea Robusta). Nearly 95 per cent of coffee estate owners grow and sell Coffea Arabica blend. However, this season the rains have damaged at least 20 per cent of the coffee crops,” John Pheophilus, Managing Director, Kanga Villa Estate, Yercaud, says.
This has resulted in 20 per cent of his coffee crop, grown on a 20-acre land, getting damaged. “In my coffee estate we grow pepper along with coffee. Silver oak trees were also planted in between as they support the growth of pepper and coffee. Sadly, these trees, instead of helping the pepper and coffee grow, have caused most of the damage because of the winds and rains,” John says.
Another coffee estate owner who has suffered losses is N. Ganesh of Chandarari Estates. “I grow coffee and pepper in a 42-acre estate in Yercaud. Harvesting coffee is a costly exercise. Now that we have experienced heavy rainfall, about 40 per cent of my coffee has been damaged and the coffee berries that are meant for plucking lie amidst trees on the ground. Having them picked up from the ground is costly as the labourers are demanding high remuneration,” Ganesh said.
Various measures of damage control are being worked out by the owners and estate managers to counter the losses.