The Department of Agriculture is preparing to source coffee from marginal farmers in the district under the Wayanad scheme. The coffee will be purchased by paying a premium of ₹10 per kg over the market price of the product, according to sources in the department.
The government has allocated ₹50 lakh to purchase 455 tons of coffee from the Ammayippalam wholesale agricultural market. The department plans to source 250kg of coffee each from 70 farmers at a civic body in the district.
Three agencies, Brahmagiri Development Society, Vasuki Farmers’ Society and Wayanad Social Services Society, had entered into a memorandum of understanding with wholesale market authorities to source coffee from farmers in four panchayats in the district.
Agencies will buy coffee from one or two places in each civic body under the block panchayats from February 7 to 19. The price will be fixed after comparing the market price in the district and the agencies will deposit the amount in the farmers’ bank accounts. .
However, Prasanth Rajesh, president of the Wayanad Coffee Growers Association, says the supply will not benefit the majority of farmers as more than 60,000 farmers in the district depend on the coffee sector for their livelihoods. The program will not cover more than 1,000 marginal farmers.
He says the so-called supply is eyewash as total coffee production in the district is over 100,000 tonnes a year, but the government is only buying 455 tonnes at present.
The government had announced that it would buy coffee from farmers at the minimum support price of ₹90 per kg while the market price for raw coffee was ₹61 per kg two years ago, Mr Rajesh said, adding that the government had not yet bought even one kg from the farmers.