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Assessment: Extended rainfall and other natural causes are said to have contributed to the shortfall in coffee output.
Madikeri: The post-monsoon coffee production estimate by the Coffee Board in Kodagu district for 2010-11 is expected to be 3,300 tonnes less than the post-blossom estimate.
The post-monsoon estimate puts Robusta production at 88,600 tonnes and Arabica at 20,900 tonnes for a total of 1,09,500 tonnes. Coffee picking has started and is gathering momentum in almost all parts of the district. The post-blossom (after the opening of coffee flowers) estimate earlier was put at 90,750 tonnes for Robusta and 22,050 tonnes for Arabica for a total of 1,12,800 tonnes.
Robusta is estimated to be down by 2,150 tonnes while Arabica is down by 1,150 tonnes. In terms of percentage, Robusta is down by 2.37 per cent while Arabica is lesser by 5.52 per cent. Extended rainfall and other natural causes are said to be reasons for the shortfall in output, in-charge Deputy Director, Coffee Board (Extension), Madikeri, S.V. Nagaraja, told The Hindu on Wednesday.
The Rs. 241.33-crore coffee debt relief package announced by the Centre several months ago is yet to reach all beneficiaries. As far as the coffee term loan prior to 2002 is concerned, the Government of India has waived 50 per cent of the loan amount, subject to a maximum of Rs. five lakh per farmer. The benefit would accrue to the farmer through the Coffee Board. The banking institutions, which have provided loans, would have to bear 25 per cent of the loan burden and 25 per cent would have to be re-scheduled in which the farmers pay it later.
As far as the crop loan is concerned, the Government of India will waive 20 per cent of the outstanding loan with the former and the banks sharing 10 per cent of the burden each with each farmer getting benefits up to a maximum of Rs. one lakh, Mr. Nagaraja said. Banks would have to send the claims to the Coffee Board in Bangalore where a special cell has been opened to deal with the claims, he said.
However, though many leading banks from Kodagu have sent in claims to the Coffee Board, some are yet to do so, a source in the banking sector told The Hindu. Growers who were eligible for the relief have already availed themselves of the benefits and the banks would get the claims from the Coffee Board. The cooperative banks, which have expressed their inability to pay their 25 per cent share towards debt relief, are in a limbo. It is said that such a thing would put many cooperative institutions in financial trouble. Elected representatives from Kodagu are planning to take a delegation to the Government seeking reimbursement.
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