As coffee growers in India prepare to for the 2012-13 harvest season, which begins in October, many are already seeing signs of young plant damage due to infestations of white stem borers, which are flourishing after abnormally weak monsoon rainfalls earlier this year.
Sources recently told India’s Firstpost that production is expected to decline for the season in the key growing regions of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
“With traditional coffee producing areas of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu facing deficient rainfall, there is a major flare-up of white stem borer (WSB), which is severely impacting output of the next coffee year,” Karnataka Planters Association (KPA) Chairman Marvin Rodrigues told Firstpost.
While the larvae of white stem borers can destroy younger plants, it may also reduce the yield on some older plants. The decrease in monsoon rain and subsequent increase in infestations is expected to affect both arabica and robusta production throughout the regions.
Farmers have been predicting the problems with this year’s harvest for at least a month, and the government-run Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI) issued an advisory to coffee farmers in July that said: “The affected plants are showing symptoms of wilting and yellowing because of depleted soil moisture and hence more number of affected plants are being noticed/identified easily now.”
The CCRI encouraged farmers to uproot affected plants, but several sources told Firstpost that those instructions are often being ignored as farmers hope to salvage what they can.
The full story: Firstpost