Coffee

Coffee is cultivated commercially in four southern state of Karnataka ,Tamilnadu, Kerala and Andhra pradesh, Coffee cultivation is confined to the hilly tracts of the western and Eastern Ghats.The annual rainfall ranges from 1250 to 3000 mm.A major portion of the areas is under the south westerly monsoon and only a small area is under north easterly monsoon.

Coffee soils in India belong to the red and lateritic soils. The soils differ in texture from sandy loam to clayey loam, and in colour they differ from light grey to deep red.Red ferruginous clays occur in tracts, Eg.bababudangiris in Karnataka and Nilgiris in Tamilnadu..

Climatic factors most important for coffee growth are temperature and rainfall. No variety can withstand a temperature in the vicinity of 32F (0C). Temperatures between 73 and 82 F (23 and 28 C) are the most favourable. Rainfall of 60 to 80 inches (1,500 to 2,000 millimetres) per year is required along with a dry period of two to three months for the Arabica. Irrigation is required where annual rainfall is less than 40 inches (1,000 millimetres).

Plantations are usually established in cleared forestland. The young shrubs are planted in rows spaced so that the density varies between 500 and 750 plants per acre (1,200and 1,800 plants per hectare). Seedlings or cuttings raised in nurseries are carefully planted at the beginning of the rainy season; until they start producing fruit three to four years later, their care is limited largely to the trimming required to give them a robust, balanced framework and to stimulate fruiting.For a long time coffee was cultivated in the shade. This is still done in many areas but is losing popularity because better results can be obtained without shade or with very light shade if other practices, such as trimming, weeding, and fertilization are followed. Yields as high as 2,000 to 3,000 pounds per acre (2,300 to 3,400 kilograms per hectare) can be grown, compared to 450 to 900 pounds per acre (500 to 1,000 kilograms per hectare) by traditional methods.

The time between blooming and maturing of the fruit varies appreciably with the variety and the climate; for the Arabica it is about seven months, and for the Robusta, about nine months. The fruit is gathered by hand when it is fully ripe and red-purple in colour.

 

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