[Answered] Discuss the factors affecting Coffee cultivation in India. Suggest some policy measures to improve Coffee cultivation.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some factors affecting Coffee cultivation in India. Also write some policy measures to improve Coffee cultivation.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

India is the third-largest producer and exporter of coffee in Asia, and the sixth-largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of coffee in the world. Coffee in India is traditionally grown in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in South India. Karnataka (54%), Kerala (19%) and Tamil Nadu (8%) are largest coffee producing states.

Factors affecting Coffee cultivation in India:

  • Climate patterns: There were dry spells between 2015 and 2017 and unseasonal heavy rains, floods and landslides between 2018 and 2022. Frequently occurring pattern of droughts and floods could wipe out plantations.
  • Pests and diseases: Erratic weather conditions are helping pests to breed and new diseases to emerge.
  • Financing: Most private banks demand collateral for financing. Since small and medium-size growers are invariably not in a position to provide collateral, the interest rates are high, at around 12%. International interest rates, on the other hand, are negligible, mostly in single digits.
  • Cost of production: high due to tough terrains where mechanisation is restricted. In Brazil, labour charges account for 25% of the entire production cost, but in India, planters say they account for about 65%.
  • There is increasingly a shortage of labour while the cost of labour is on the rise in the coffee sector. The children of workers in all the three coffee-growing States prefer to move to urban areas. This means plantations are forced to depend heavily on migrant labours who are unskilled.

Measures to improve Coffee cultivation:

  • There is a need to take measures to increase domestic consumption.
  • Branding and promoting Indian coffee better in the global market by working on a separate India brand and certification system for coffee growers.
  • Growers should create additional revenue streams through inter-cropping or through innovative measures. In addition to traditional inter-cropping of pepper and cardamom, coffee growers could try planting exotic fruit-bearing trees, or fish farming, dairy farming, or green tourism to increase incomes from their coffee gardens.
  • Considering the change in land use, the government could permit growers to plant alternate crops in a land not suitable for coffee cultivation. Timely conversion will prevent growers from going financially sick.

Coffee has high value and high imagery potential at home and overseas markets. India’s share in the global coffee market may be less than 5%, but the Coffee Act and the new Coffee (Promotion and Development Bill), 2022, will do away the 80-year-old coffee regulation and usher in change.

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