Coffee Plantation in Stress | UPSC
Labour scarcity makes coffee plantation ecosystem in Western Ghats fragile: Study
WHY IN NEWS:
Straight from DownToEarth Mag !
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Agriculture : Plantation
For PRELIMS it is important to understand preferable conditions for the growth of coffee .
For MAINS understand the effect of pandemic on coffee cultivators and the plantation . Let us dive in !
COFFEE PRODUCTION IN INDIA
- Coffee production in India is dominated in the hill tracts of South Indian states, with Karnataka accounting for 71%.
- It is followed by Kerala with 21% and Tamil Nadu (5% of overall production with 8,200 tonnes).
- There are about 250,000 coffee growers in the country; 98% of them are small growers.
- Almost 80% of Indian coffee is exported.
- 70% is bound for Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, United States, Japan, Greece, Netherlands and France.
- Italy accounts for 29% of the exports.
- Most of the export is shipped through the Suez Canal.
SOURCES : COFFEEBI
- Indian coffee, grown mostly in southern states under monsoon rainfall conditions, is also termed as “Indian monsooned coffee“.
- The first variety that was introduced in the Baba Budan Giri hill ranges of Karnataka in the 17th century.
CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY
- These southern coffee growing regions are in the Western Ghats mountain range, a biodiversity hotspot that runs some 1450 km along India’s southwest coast.
- Over a third of the region’s 5000 plant species are found no place else on earth.
- Among them is the engaging little Black-and-rufous Flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa).
- Another near-threatened flycatcher endemic to the Western Ghats is the Nilgiri Flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudatus).
- This bird is declining due to habitat destruction, but it can be found on shaded coffee plantations.
COFFEE PRODUCTION IN STRESS
- Coffee plantations, have contributed to conservation of biodiversity by providing habitat for key species of concern.
- But rising labour costs, urbanisation and increased use of pesticides may threaten that.
Higher variety of tree species necessary for sustaining wildlife habitat:
- Larger farm size
- Increase in canopy density
- Cultivation of coffee arabica varieties
- A disruption in labour supply impacted the management practices, which in turn impacted biodiversity.
- In coffee plantations, tree maintenance demands a large amount of seasonal labour force.
- This is compounded further because labour costs make up 65 per cent of input costs.
- Due to insufficient labour and an increasingly volatile market, small landholders in the Western Ghats were gravitating towards production and management practices associated with maintaining fewer tree varieties.
- This simplification of production impacted the smallest landholders the most.
- A labour-scarce environment also prompts higher usage of pesticides along with substitution of Arabica with Robusta coffee plantations.
- Roughly 75% of coffee plantations in the Western Ghats were smaller than 10 hectares as a result of the conversion.
- Biodiversity is the latest casualty of the pandemic-induced lockdowns that triggered mass reverse migration.
- In addition to the blow to livelihoods and costs to the larger economy, the cascade of effects will eventually impinge upon the birds and the bees.
SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Coffee Plantation in Stress | UPSC