For small scale planners like Rukmini RV in Wayanad district of Kerala, rain in January – the coffee harvest season – can be harmful. It either completely spoils the carefully cultivated bean or significantly affects its aromatic quality. Needless to say that the 2,312% variation of rainfall this year, according to the Meteorological Department, has just been disastrous in the first two weeks of the month – and not just for cultivators.
“Coffee blossoms are falling. Our harvested coffee is in a dry state. Due to the lack of sunlight, we cannot dry it. Gist: It’s a total loss. All the planters in Wayanad are facing the same problem Are. Only me, “Ms. Rukmini sighs.
Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar admitted that the January rains were a cause of great concern for the state. “In my life – and I am in my 50s – I have not seen such rains in Kerala during January. It is linked to climate change,” Mr. Kumar told NDTV.
Farmers’ challenge has also increased for other reasons, which cumulatively reduced the market price of coffee beans from Rs 12,600 per quintal in June 2020 to Rs 11,400 by 12 January. This has left the tenants without any margin. In any case, they say, this is hardly an exception.
“If we compare it to 10 years (average), the price of coffee is almost the same or less, but the cost of production is three times higher,” says Ms. Rukmini, who is also a lawyer.
While Kerala is the second largest coffee producer in India after Karnataka, the competition is stiff internationally. “A farmer from Kalpetta in Wayanad needs to compete with the yields of Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia. We need to ensure maximum cultivation in each available (piece of land). But it is our (many of us) It is difficult to even survive. ”She says.
Interventions such as subsidies, Bagan says, are not enough to make coffee an economically viable crop.
Another farmer, Vasan EK, says, “Our income is far below the cost of production. We cannot continue like this.”
The state government believes that the problem is real. To meet market expectations, it is set to launch its own brands in Kerala based on the area of production.
“We are in the process of building our own brands – Malabar Coffee, Wayanad Coffee. We are trying to form a producer organization of farmers. We will sell coffee directly from farmers. We will fully support the machinery for making legumes powder. ” , ”Says Agriculture Minister Kumar.