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Heavy monsoon rain hits Kerala’s plantation sector

Heavy monsoon rain hits Kerala’s plantation sector

AUGUST 9 2018


Torrential rain, especially in Kerala’s Idukki region, has impacted the tea sector, which is expecting a 50 per cent production drop in Munnar alone. A top official in a tea producing company said that the growth of tea bushes has been affected due to abnormally high rains in several parts of the High Ranges. This will push up cost of production, affecting the entire plantation sector. “We are receiving some of the highest rainfall in more than a decade and its impact will be very severe,” he told BusinessLine.


The Association of Planters of Kerala had earlier put the loss at about 100-125 kg/ha of tea in July alone due to erratic weather conditions. It said that rains have caused physical damages to standing crops, shade trees and ancillary buildings, roads and revetments.


George Valy, President of the Kottayam Rubber Dealers Federation, said that rubber trees are experiencing a leaf fall disease due to continuous rains and this will affect the yield and impact production in the coming months.


The sector has already witnessed a major drop in production in the April-July period. Several rubber plantations are inundated and due to rains tapping has become impossible even in rain-guarded areas.


The drop in production may lead to massive imports. As import prices are ruling lower, Valy said tyre companies may find it comfortable on rubber shipments to meet their production requirements and to compensate the loss in domestic production.


Valy, who is also a cardamom planter, said that erratic rains have affected spraying and application of pesticides and fungicides in cardamom plantations, especially in the Idukki region, which suffered the endemic spread of Rhizome rot and Capsule rot. This will have an impact on cardamom production. As While the rains in July July rains impacted low lying areas, he said the downpour in August made its havoc in the High Ranges, virtually damaging almost all crops.


Kishore Shamji, former President, Indian Pepper & Spice Trade Association, said: “We are expecting a production fall but it is difficult to say the actual figure at the moment. This year, pepper production may be around 65,000 tonnes and next year, it will be lower. The growing areas of Kerala and Karnataka are the most affected by rains due to summer showers, pre-monsoon and early monsoon rains.”



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