Extreme weather adversely impacts coffee output in last 4 years

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Coffee-producing South Indian states have been witnessing a series of extreme weather events in the last four years. Extreme rainfall causing heavy flood and large-scale landslides in August 2018 in coffee producing areas of Kerala and Karnataka led to a dip of around 20 per cent in the total coffee production.

South Indian states like Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu contribute 80 per cent of the country’s total Coffee production.

India had a record production of coffee in 2015-16, producing 348,000 tonnes of coffee. However, since then, the output has been declining. In 2016-17 and 2017-18, the production was 312,000 tonnes and 316,000 tonnes respectively.

Extreme floods and landslides are predicted to further cause a dip in production to the tune of 253,000 tonnes. There is going to be around 63,000 tonnes lesser Coffee in 2018-19. Extreme weather events have not only led to a decrease in coffee production but have also impacted the premier coffee market.

Premier quality of coffee is grown in specific regions where the climate allows it to ripen on time. But uneven rainfall and rising temperatures led to deterioration in the quality of the beans.

The World Meteorological Organization (WM0) has further warned there is a 75-80 per cent chance of a full-fledged El Nino from January to March of 2019. The changes drive weather patterns that have global consequences like below-average temperatures and more rain for the southern U.S., but hot dry conditions for Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, southeastern Africa and northern Brazil.

Typically, El Niño years occur after every seven to ten years, affecting more than 60 million people, causing droughts, wildfires and causing devastating coral bleaching.

While drought is the main threat to food production, El Niño can also cause heavy rains, flooding or extremely hot or cold weather.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), this can lead to pest and disease outbreaks and animal diseases like zoonosis and food-borne infectious ailments. It also causes widespread forest fires, as recently seen in California.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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