It is double whammy for cardamom growers in Kerala's Idukki district this year.
After a drought like situation damaged cardamom plants in all growing areas in the district a few weeks ago, it is rains and strong winds that are wreaking havoc on the plants this time.
Sabu Mathew of Rajakumari, a cardamom farmer, said plants were damaged in several cardamom estates and in some areas the stems were shaken by the winds which will affect flowering and capsule setting.
Farmers predicted an yield loss of 20 per cent due to rains this year. Besides, the farmers would have to bear maintenance cost.
The delayed southwest monsoon came this year with heavy downpour and the district received 40 cm rainfall till now. Last week, the rains were accompanied by strong winds which wreaked havoc on plants.
In most of the estates, the plants were in the process of revival after a protracted dry spell last summer. In estates having no irrigation facilities, the plants had dried up completely.
The drought had already inflicted a heavy loss on cardamom growers. Now the gale had aggravated the situation further.
The vagaries of the weather would bring down the production next season, besides delaying the harvesting, which might take place only by late August.
Plantations in Idukki district, where much of the crop in the country is cultivated, are in bad shape. In fact, the arrival of monsoon showers had affected badly the flowering and pollination.