Bengaluru– Coffee production in this fiscal (2016-17) would be lower than in last fiscal (2015-16) due to unseasonal rains causing damage to Arabica bean variety, said a planters’ representative on Thursday.

“Our estimate is lower coffee production owing to 25 per cent decline in Arabica output due to unseasonal rains in November 2015 causing damage to the crops,” said Karnataka Planters’ Association Chairman Baba P.S. Bedi here.

According to the state-run Coffee Board post-blossom estimate, total production in 2016-17 will be 3,20,000 tonne as against 3,48,000 tonne in 2015-16.

“The Coffee Board’s estimation is eight per cent lower than the actual production in 2015-16, whereas we estimate the overall shortfall to be at least 12 per cent due to delayed blossom and backing showers,” reiterated Bedi ahead of the planters’ two-day 58th annual conference here from Friday.

The total production (3,48,000 tonne) for 2015-16 includes 2,44,500 tonne of Robusta plantation and 1,03,500 tonne of Arabica plantation.

Similarly, from the estimated production of 3,20,000 tonne for 2016-17, Robusta will account for 2,20,000 tonne and Arabica 1,00,000 tonne.

Karnataka, which accounts for 70-80 per cent of the total coffee output, produced 2,51,521 tonne in 2015-16, including 1,72,870 tonne Robusta and 78,650 tonne Arabica.

In this fiscal (2016-17), the southern state is expected to produce 2,29,345 tonne, including 1,54,860 tonne Robusta and 74,485 tonne Arabica.

“Hot and humid weather with high temperatures until March-April and the decline of water resources, has had a harsh effect on irrigation of Robusta estates,” recalled Bedi on the occasion.

Expressing concern over dwindling Arabica plantation growth due to high incidence of white stem borer disease, leaf rust and lower productivity, Bedi said the steering committee of the commerce ministry should import Arabica variety that are disease resistant and genetically proven to be high-yielders.

The KPA also expressed concern over the absence of a full-time chairman for the Coffee Board since the tenure of its former Chairman Jawad Akthar ended in May 2015.