Sulthan Bathery: Coffee farmers in the state are a troubled lot with the inordinate delay in the distribution of subsidy by the Coffee Board.

Distribution of subsidy worth Rs 4.39 crore has been pending for two years. Farmers in Wayanad and Idukki districts, who come under the Kalpatta Coffee Board, are still awaiting the amount to be released.

The subsidy is to be distributed for applications submitted for the financial year 2015-16 and 2016-17. According to Coffee Board officials, though they had approved the applications, subsidy distribution got interrupted due to the delay in the funds from the government.

The subsidy was distributed under Integrated Coffee Development Project (ICDP) of Coffee Board to help the farmers. The project, started in March 2012, expired in March 2017. Hence, the board has stopped receiving new applications for the subsidy. Large number of farmers are getting affected as the coffee board is not taking any action to restart the project.

The Coffee Board had given 50 per cent amount as subsidy for coffee cultivation including planting new saplings, irrigation facilities, purchase of agriculture equipment etc.

Officials in-charge carried out a detailed inquiry after the farming and about purchase of agricultural equipment by the farmers. After the verification, the board has to deposit the fund to the farmer’s bank account.

Farmers who borrowed money for the cultivation have landed in trouble as the subsidy is pending. Small-scale farmers in Wayanad where coffee is cultivated on a large-scale, are facing a harrowing time.

The coffee farmers are forced to drop coffee cultivation as the financial aids for agricultural promotion got interrupted along with the destruction of crops and fall in prices.