A visit to Coffee and other spices Plantation in Madikeri, Coorg. Coorg also is known as Kodagu.
This coffee plantation is a private property of an individual whom I met on this journey, through another known, and we ended up becoming friends. His name is Rohith Mathews and through him, I got home cooked food too 😛
Rohith’s usual days start early, going to the farm and assigning work to everyone. He too stays and work wherever needed. Through this walk, not only did I learn a little about coffees but also saw a glimpse into the lives of people who put their hard work into it. So a coffee farmer, as he calls himself, is unlike what I always thought. I assumed it to be toiling – pruning and harvesting. But unless I saw it, I couldn’t imagine the read hard work. Also, Rohith had a brilliant understanding of soil and plants reaction towards the nature. He had more sensitivity towards the earth / understands and connects to the soil in a way I have never seen or heard so far. I also learnt that cardamom plant is actually really sensitive plant. You need to visit it on a regular basis to get a good crop. Rohith calls the plant as “Attention Seeker”.
Inspite of being the owner of this plantation, He does participate in all work with his labour forces- harvesting, pruning, fertilising, experimenting with new planting techniques, marketing, transporting, and then finally praying to the Mother Nature to take care of the crop.
The coffee plants harvest once a year, and the life period of one plant can go up to 20-25 years. Initially when these plants are planted, they take 3-5 years to get the first harvest. So a farmer has to wait for at least five years to get its results. Some patience and perseverance is needed.
On the other hand, then there are landslides, unwanted rains, etc other natural occurrences which is taking away the soil’s capability of growing produces.
This coffee plantation has been with Rohith’s family since 1950s – bought by his grand mother. Then his father worked on it. Quite a number of plants in the plantation belongs to grandmother’s time. Rohith himself is also experimenting with new ways too.
Still, a lot of coffee plantations are getting out of family and sold to big players. No youngster as such really wants to learn and take over the business of being a coffee farmer. When you are a farmer, you will eat what you will work for. You are responsible not only for yourself but others too. Most of the youngsters need a salaried, secured job. Rohith wishes that the plantation stAys forever in family and his children inherits it.
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