The South West monsoon isn’t proving to be a boon to the Kerala’s plantation sector. The downpour has become a flood like situation impacting various commodities such as tea, cardamom, pepper and coffee. Reports of widespread damage to standing crops, pests and disease outbreak are coming in from several places.
The tea sector has already anticipated a 30 percent drop in production during June, July and August as heavy rains and wind have already hampered plucking in many gardens in Munnar. The pre-monsoon showers in May had also considerably impacted production in the region.
Situation in July is likely to be serious and the conditions are not conducive for growth. The emerging situation comes at a time when tea prices are moving southwards vis-a-vis last year. The commodity outlook in South India is also weak, as is evident in low prices in Cochin auction, which is not a good sign, he said.
N Dharmaraj, Chief Executive, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd told Business Line that rains and strong winds have been intense in the tea growing region of Idukki and Wayanad. The excessive rainfall and absence of sunshine is likely to impact the crops in June and July, may be in the range of 20-25 per cent. Plucking had to be stopped for a few days in the last 10 days.
The Association of Planters of Kerala said that the monsoon crop is expected to be lower by 40 per cent, which would have an impact on annual production on account of the damages to tea bushes and shade trees.
The cardamom sector is also expecting a drop in output. The good summer rains have facilitated the sector to advance the harvest season to June as against July and August.