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Coffee Plantations in Wayanad

The coffee creation in Kerala accounts to about 28 % of the overall coffee development in South India which includes the three claims - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The coffee production is principally suited to grow in the hilly tracts of the state governments with Karnataka accounting to nearly all coffee production - an impressive 53% of a total production of 8200 tonnes (Calendar year 2010 information). The espresso development in Kerala is around 23 % of the country's total coffee output which makes it the second greatest coffee-producing condition in India. Wayanad, a favorite district in Kerala produces almost around 90 % of the state's coffee produce which actually concludes that the caffeine economy of Kerala is highly correlated with the caffeine market existing in Wayanad.

Our study programs to investigate and evaluate the agricultural farming routines implemented by the farmers in Wayanad, a district situated in the north-east of Kerala, and incredibly popular for the caffeine plantations and tea estates growing in this area. In such a section, we will however be focusing with the existing farming methods and the opportunity of natural farming in the region of coffee plantations. We will first discuss about the topography of Wayanad and how it suits to the growth of coffee on an extensive scale, followed by the prevailing farming methods of espresso and the contribution of NGO's, co-operative societies and self help groupings in educating the farmers about the present day eco-friendly methods of farming. Finally, we will review and measure the scope of natural farming in the area of development of coffee plantations in Wayanad and exactly how it will increase the value string from the farmers' point of view.

About Wayanad

Topography

Wayanad, the 12th district made in Kerala, which is also called "The Land of Paddy Fields" is located in between the restrictions of the Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The region is located on the top of the majestic Western Ghats and its own altitude range from roughly 700 meters to of up to 2100 meters. A big area of the region's population consists of the indigenous tribal communities. The spot is full with densely populated high-standing hilly terrains, mountains (Chembra Top), lakes (the beautiful Pookot Lake), waterfalls and dams (Banasura Sagar Dam) as a stunning location for travelers.

Climate

Wayanad being faraway from the mean sea level and densely covered by forests give a very pleasant local climate. Typically the temps versions are reported to maintain the range of 18 to 28 level centigrade. The average rainfall received in your community is just about 2500 millimeters per season. As a result of a high level of existence of both sunlight and rainfall, the agricultural land in this region is very fertile. Wayanad due to its extensive scope of agricultural farming has been reported to be keeping a position between the 18 real agribiodiversity hotspots situated in the world.

Rivers

Most of the Wayanad region is situated close to the river Kabini (an important tributary of the river Kaveri) along using its three tributaries particularly, Panaraman, Kalindy and Mananthavady rivers. Dams such as the BanasuraSagar Dam and aqueducts have also been built in the region with the sole purpose of providing water to the drought stricken regions in the district.

Economy

Speaking about the market of Wayanad, most the region's market is dependant on agriculture as can be implied by the meager amount of 3. 79 % of the district's society being urbanized. The main cash vegetation growing in your community are espresso, tea, plantain, pepper, vanilla and cocoa. Apart from these plants, another important and essential cash crop growing in the Wayanad region is rice. Although there has been an agrarian turmoil because of the upsurge in lower prices of the locally-grown cash plants such as caffeine, ginger, pepper, etc. , yet it has been noted that there is an increasing tendency in the price of agricultural land in Wayanad.

The geographical explanation of the place covers a vast part with agricultural land, approximately 54 % of the district's area. Around 37% of the place is protected up with densely populated forests. One of the key cash vegetation growing in your community aside from tea is espresso which has two main types of coffee plantations. Coffee Arabica, the premier coffee and Caffeine Robusta, the low-quality coffee which well suits the environmental conditions originating in Wayanad are the two main types of coffee growing in this district. However, majority of the coffee growing in this region is of the robusta variety which accounts to approximately 95 % of the total coffee creation in Wayanad. The capacity of land occupied by coffee plantations in conditions of agricultural land area volumes to around 58 %, numerically around 110, 000 hectares. It's been reported that around 80 % of the total coffee produced in Kerala comes from Wayanad.

Population

The population magnitude in Wayanad matters to about around 800, 000 people with more than 80 % of the populace being majorly dependent on agriculture. The majority of the espresso growers in Wayanad are small and marginal farmers which account to more than 90 % with an increase of than 60 percent60 % of the land holders occupying significantly less than one hectare of land. The average landholding size of a farmer in the area has been found to be about 0. 68 hectares. As already talked about earlier, a huge chunk of the Wayanad population contains tribal communities with almost 17 % of the state's tribes residing in Kerala. The tribal areas also have a substantial role to learn in agriculture.

Infrastructure

Wayanad moves through the Calicut, Mysore and Bangalore connection via road. The closest railway place and airport is situated in Calicut which is just about 100 kms from Wayanad. Along with the improvement of technology and infrastructure services, the area has good network coverage and internet connectivity apart from a robust postoffice network and option of courier services. Additionally, no vitality scarcity problems have been reported in the region.

Farming Ways of Coffee

In order to comprehend the farming methods of coffee adopted in different regions of Wayanad, we have conducted a personal interview with senior associates of existing non-profit organizations (NGO's) operating for the reason that district. We have also performed an intensive books research on the farming methods of coffee, the constraints faced by the farmers if any and the scope of natural farming given the existing constraints such as high cost of production, scarcity of skilled and unskilled labour, etc. The precise objectives we have tried to cover in this section include the following:-

Analysis of the coffee creation costs and the earnings structure

Identifying the most important determinants which impact espresso yield

Analyzing the partnership between farm-size holdings and the farm's caffeine output efficiency

Performing a comparative evaluation of the evaluation of the labor-absorption capacity on coffee produce when compared with other cash vegetation (tea, grain) produce

Dependency of farming methods on the degree of fluctuation in coffee prices

Impact of climatic conditions on yield of espresso and range of pests and coffee-related diseases and their effect on coffee productivity

Understand, analyze and measure the participation of local institutional agencies like the Regional Research Espresso place in Wayanad ( popularly known as the Coffee Plank) and Krishibhavan on ways of coffee cultivation

Our review of espresso cultivation methods mainly spans around farmers originating from three different parts across Wayanad specifically Sulthan Bathery, Nenmeni and Noolpuzha. Our reason behind choice of these three gram panchayats is due to a lot of the farmers from these areas having espresso cultivation as their predominant cash crop and therefore way to obtain cultivation. A lot of the coffee cultivation takes place in Noolpuzha among the three gram panchayats with 2900 hectares of land available for caffeine plantations while around 1500 and 1200 hectares of land is available in Sulthan Bathery and Nenmeni respectively. As per the definition of the farmer by the Espresso Table in Wayanad, small and marginal farmers routinely have a farm land of significantly less than 5 acres i. e. two hectares whereas large farmers are possessing huge espresso estates of land size more than 10 acres. The existing division of farmers in Wayanad based on this classification suggests that roughly 90 % of farmers fall in the group of small and marginal farmers. The general method of harvesting espresso includes the next three steps in a sequential manner:-

Plucking the espresso seed products from the espresso gardens by using recharged labour where natural farming techniques tend to be desirable. Usage of pesticides and fertilizers is minimal.

Drying these seed products in the drying gardens for atleast 1 to at least one 1. 5 weeks where in fact the coffee seeds are held for drying under sunlight.

Finally bagging of fresh coffee is performed after drying where in fact the general standards employed in Wayanad define one bag of espresso to contain around 54 kgs of espresso. Including the weight of the handbag typically to be one kg, each bag of espresso weights around 55 kgs and this harvested espresso is then sold off to local dealers at prices which are commensurate with the neighborhood espresso market existing in Wayanad.

Types of Coffee

There are mainly two types of caffeine i. e. Caffeine Arabica and Coffee Robusta. Through the mid nineteenth century (1825-1869), the mainly cultivated espresso variety was Arabica as it got more beverage value and hence fetched higher espresso prices in the home as well as international market segments. However, this variety of espresso was more vulnerable to pests and diseases and finally the large caffeine estates producing this variety were kept discontinued as the plants perished due to the hazards prevailing from major pests existing in that period such as "white stem borer", "leaf rust" and "green bug". During the later 50 % of the nineteenth century, the Robusta variety of coffee became popular in Wayanad. Among the major known reasons for shifting to the variety was that Robusta can stand up to against threats arising from existing as well as new coffee-related pests and diseases. Currently, Robusta espresso produce is more than 95 % of the total coffee cultivation done in Wayanad. As an approach towards natural farming, the farmers generally increase espresso plantations under the cover from the sun of spice plantations mainly pepper so the cash crop can be secured against pests and other diseases produced in the earth. However Arabica caffeine which accounts for significantly less than 3% of the total caffeine produce in Kerala is also grown in hilly terrains mainly limited to the high altitude regions composed of the districts such as Kozhikode, Palakkad, Idukki and Kannur.

Cropping Pattern

The small and marginal farmers generally follow a mixed cropping routine wherein coffee is produced and also other cash crops such as pepper, arecanut and banana. Some of the reasons for these farmers going for a mixed cropping routine rather than mono cropping are:-

Livelihood: - Agricultural income being the one income source for this portion of farmers, land is the most treasured asset they own. However in recent years, it has been reported that anticipated to a very high fluctuation of coffee prices in the marketplaces, farmers have suffered with high financial deficits by being solely dependent on only 1 cash crop i. e. caffeine. Hence the farmers have decided to utilize their vacant land on other expensive cash vegetation such as pepper which would act as an alternative source of income for them. Additionally plants such as pepper and banana would provide tone to caffeine plantations and act as a mode of natural farming methodologies adopted to protect against arising risks from existing as well as new pests and espresso related diseases.

As per the options we interviewed, the fluctuations in espresso price this past year i. e. this year 2010 were controllable though, that was within the number Rs. 1900 to Rs. 2500 per kg of caffeine. The harvesting amount of espresso which generally begins in the month of Dec and is set to close in Feb is almost over and according to our sources; the common price of caffeine in Wayanad is trading at Rs. 3000 per kg.

Farm size:- The farm size and land holdings being relatively smaller for marginal farmers when compared with large real estate farmers helps it be advantageous for them to adopt a mixed cropping fashion. It is because they don't follow any organized approach to planting saplings in arrays which means that there is still enough scope of planting maximum plant life per area because of the limited stocking method followed.

However, the conversion process is very difficult for large house farmers because the area of land under mono-cropping is huge.

Labour availableness:- The labour availability for small farmers is majorly by means of local labour i. e. labour resources will be the family and mainly the money crop cultivator who is the owner of the land. However, in case there is large farm estates, the labour resources are typically the paid labours who are generally also the members of planned trade unions functioning in Wayanad. Several conditions have been reported of undying level of resistance from such trade union users against combined cropping in large plantation estates due to the fear of losing employment. According to one of the options who is a member of the M. S. Swaminathan NGO operating in Wayanad, the labour demand for plucking coffee from espresso gardens is priced via two different pricing mechanisms.

Hourly basis demand wherein a labour typically charges around Rs. 150 - 200 each hour.

Plucking capacity basis wherein labour necessary for plucking per kg. of coffee is charged roughly Rs. 1. 50 - 2. 50.

However, labour charges change from destination to place in several regions of Wayanad.

The table symbolized below shows the recent figures in deviation of mixed crop cultivation applied in Wayanad.

The results from the table clearly show that marginal farmers have been more enthusiastic to switch their cropping design from espresso to pepper. The major cash vegetation which replaced caffeine are pepper, tea and arecanut as shown by the desk brought up below.

Cost of Coffee Production

Coffee production being highly labour-intensive encounters a very high cost of development which has become one of the principal reasons for small and marginal farmers to shift from espresso to alternative higher income generating cash vegetation such as tea, pepper and arecanut. The utilization of manual labour in the process of coffee cultivation can be attributed to the following sequentially implemented sub-processes stated below:-

Activity of managing weed which is usually done thrice per year. The women labourers in Wayanad are usually involved with the control of this agricultural activity wherein they minimize and remove the weeds physically using sickles

Activity of upturning the garden soil with manual labour using a spade is usually done twice a year

Activity of making use of manures such as cow dung and fertilizers is done double a year

Activity of pruning where in fact the undesired parts of the espresso saplings are ripped off is typically done double a year

Activity of last coffee bean collection during harvest during the month of Dec to February is performed by hand-picking which is usually completed once a year

Activity of making use of pesticides and insecticides to protect against bacteria is also done one per year. This activity boosts the expense of labour by an enormous level given the embedded cost of pesticides which is also charged along with the price of putting it on with the ground.

The costs related to all or any these activities can be referred to as the current bills which are currently found to maintain the range of Rs. 35, 000 - 40, 000 per hectare. Moreover, large real estate farmers who install sprinkler irrigation systems or drip systems incur a higher cost because of the large investments associated with these systems. The initial cost associated with bringing up a new caffeine farm altogether would are the current expenses of the original four years from the start of getting ready the farm. This is because from the generally seen craze, it's been found that espresso vegetation usually start producing sufficient yield from the fourth year of planting.

Constraints confronted by farmers

There are extensive constraints encountered by the coffee-producing farmers in Wayanad rendering it more difficult to allow them to choose coffee-farming as the best mode of family income. A few of them are:-

Scarcity of labour is a major matter and given the power of labour necessary for implementing more of natural farming methods in caffeine cultivation all throughout the year, this problem should be fixed by providing better opportunities to both labourers (who have to be paid realistic income because of their employment in coffee gardens) and farmers (who need to generate a reliable income to repay the labourers well). The scarcity of labour has thus resulted in a very high cost of labour billed which combined with the huge espresso price fluctuations helps it be all the more worrying for the coffee-cultivating farmers.

The farmers do not possess any market knowledge about what the caffeine prices are in the domestic and international market segments. Their only network within the caffeine chain is with the local stock traders or middlemen whom they sell the espresso produce in carriers typically containing roughly 54 kgs of coffee. The M. S. Swaminathan NGO operating in Kalpetta, Wayanad currently only provides training and demonstration on means of efficient coffee cultivation. Their major function is to teach the farmers the many methods of coffee-capacity building. In addition they supply the farmers the opportunity to take qualifications regarding espresso cultivation tactics but given the limited income source from caffeine cultivation, almost all of the farmers except the large farmers do not avail this opportunity of taking farm-related qualifications. However, they don't really provide any financial help the farmers.

The funding support provided by the farmers is majorly provided by nationalized banking companies such as Condition Lender of Travancore and other district co-operative banking companies which provide lending options at lower interest levels compared to the market rates. However, there are a lot of hidden cost charges in the loan making a loan very expensive during the time of settlement. So, the small and marginal groups of farmers have very little opportunity of negotiating their prices with the neighborhood merchants as their urgent requirement for liquid cash to pay off their loan installments makes them more anxious. Adding to that, these band of farmers do not have any warehouses of their own to keep the harvest and sell them off when the local market offers higher espresso prices. The cost of transporting inventory in warehouses owns an impounding impact combined with the existing interest charges used due to loans availed previously. However, large estate farmers getting the benefit of possessing economies of range for espresso cultivation in Wayanad, a few of them do have their own warehouses and hence are able to make higher earnings than that of small and marginal farmers. Moreover, the farmers having insufficient co-operation among themselves have never been involved in collaborative decision-making to form co-operatives for an improved cause. Microfinance corporations are also no longer working in Wayanad, which makes the option of funds more expensive.

The farmers aren't at all directly connected to the wholesalers or stores of the coffee market. This makes the middlemen to pocket a lot of profit which could have in any other case been an integral part of the farmers' income. The NGO's also don't provide any help and assistance to increase the networking probable of farmers connecting them right to the end-sellers in the market, thereby eliminating the necessity of middleman in the caffeine chain. The main reason may be the strong lobbying from the neighborhood traders which makes their contribution in the espresso chain inescapable.

Lack of adoption of natural and eco-friendly methods such as rainfall water harvesting because of the excess costs incurred in putting into action it. Although there were certain government plans to promote rainfall normal water harvesting in Kerala which are rare, the farmers being unaware of such schemes actually have not been able to avail them. Furthermore lack of co-operation one of the farming community creates hindrances in dynamic proposal of such environmental friendly plans.

Conclusion

After conducting an intensive research analysis of the coffee cultivation methods in Wayanad, we have tried to recognize the major problems encountered by the farmers in adopting natural farming methods at the grassroot level. Although the majority of the sub-agricultural activities related to the caffeine cultivation are done through natural farming instead of organic and natural farming, still the farming method is not entirely natural. That is due to following reasons the following:-

Organic farming although increases the price of coffee cultivation by way of a certain amount, is an effective mechanism to fight pests and insurmountable diseases. It also brings combined with the flavor respectable in the caffeine market.

Coffee cultivation being truly a major income source, farmers provides strong emphasis to the farming technology used so that they can increase their income whenever you can. Simple natural farming technology needs much more labour than that for organic farming which makes it all the more costly given the high costs of labour in Wayanad.

However, with proper instruction from NGO's about the present day ways of natural farming which are highly effective and the option of cheap labour, the farmers can integrate natural farming over time which will be a beneficial cause from all angles.

Interviewees

The following people who have been interviewed have provided considerable support in exposing necessary data for completion of our interpersonal development project. They may be:-

Name:- N. Gopalakrishnan, Farm Manager of M. S. Swaminathan Research Base (NGO)

Office: - Puthorvayal, Kalpetta, a small town in Wayanad

Cel No:- +91- 96561-02590

Kindly ask Anil to include three more labels including the One whom he has interviewed. Please follow the above format

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