Karnataka planters say Coffee Board output forecast inflated

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Planters in Karnataka say the Coffee Board’s estimate of output in 2017-18, at 350,400 tonnes, is inflated. They put it at 312,000 tonnes.

The Board reports to the Union commerce ministry. It estimated a post-blossom crop of 103,100 tonnes Arabica and 247,300 tonnes of Robusta. The overall increase is 38,400 tonnes (12.3 per cent) over the final estimate of 2016-17. The rise, said the Board, would be mainly due to an additional 13,500 hectares in the traditional growing areas of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 

This post-blossom estimation was in May 2017. Any crop losses since then would be estimated in the post-monsoon estimation.

“The Board’s figure is inflated,” says Maneyapanda M Chengappa, chairman, Karnataka Planters Association. Of the country’s production, 72 per cent is from Karnataka.

The Board’s estimate for Karnataka is 251,760 tonnes, from 221,745 tonnes last year. For Kerala, mainly a Robusta producer, at 68,520 tonnes, about 8.3 per cent over the previous year’s final estimate of 63,265 tonnes. In Tamil Nadu, it estimates 19,160 tonnes, from last year’s final estimation of 16,335 tonnes.

And, in the non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and the northeast, the post-blossom forecast is 10,960 tonnes, from last year's final one of 10,655 tonnes. The higher forecast has come mainly from Andhra.

Chengappa said climate change had resulted in an increase of pest and disease. Arabica yield has reduced over the past decade from 1,200 kg a hectare to 600 kg; of Robusta from 2,000 kg to 1,400 kg.  

This year, again, the plantation districts had untimely and decreased rainfall during the crucial months, he said.

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