Breaking myths around farming, towards sustainability
Gandurekke: Propagation of coffee plants using side branches
Traditionally, coffee plants have always been propagated through seeds and saplings and then transferred to the plantations. A new method of propagation and cultivation has been invented wherein the side branches of a Robusta plant are used to propagate. This is a groundbreaking discovery that would enable the coffee growing community to overcome the challenges faced during recent times.
In the last few decades, coffee plantations are suffering from a shortage of manpower. If scarcity of labour is one end of the spectrum, then we have unskilled/incompetent labour on the other. Since coffee harvesting and bush management work is majorly performed by older female workers, reaching out to Robusta coffee plants is a challenge as they grow taller over time. Older female labours also come with age-related problems limiting their physical capability which results in coffee berries in the top-most section of the plant left unattended.
Even plants propagated through seeds and suckers also tend to grow taller. The need of the hour is to have plants that remain shorter yet manage to produce great quality beans in higher volumes. This can be achieved by propagating plants using Gandurekke. This also helps in spotting elephants easily thus reducing the human-elephant conflict to an extent.
Selection of gandurekke (gormandizers)
There are three to four types of Gandurekkes. However, all are not suitable to be grown in this method. The side branch that grows at an angle of 45 degrees or that grows semi vertically which has similar characteristics of the regular biomass is selected for propagation. Also, the characteristics of the Gandurekke are as important as the characteristics of the plant which is selected for propagation. A gandurekke branch should not only have the characteristics of a plant but also have other characteristics like bold size fruits, good cluster size, thickness, uniform ripening, compact bush and disease resistance.
Characteristics and advantages of Gandurekke coffee:
Plants don't grow beyond 10ft in height.
Doesn't have the main stem.
Doesn't produce suckers at all.
Harvesting and pruning are easier.
The cost of cultivation is less.
Early and higher yield.
Semi Gandurekke plants.
This is also another type of plant propagation and method of cultivation. A vertically growing branch that comes from the top canopy is selected for plant propagation. These branches are neither suckers nor gandurekkes. The appearance of the plant also differs from regular, sucker propagated and gandurekke plants. this method is best suited to be grown as a multiple stem system. The branches bend downwards as it grows taller and thereby providing space for upcoming suckers.
Uniform sized fruits of gandurekke plants. all the plants bear the same type of fruits since the plants are vegetatively propagated.
Dry parchment of washed coffee.
More than 80% 'A' grade beans with silver skin.
Semi Gandurekke plant suitable to be grown as mutliple stem coffee cultivating method.
Fruit bearing from the ground level.
Gandurekke saplings available at the nursery.