Coffee output still not satisfactory

KATHMANDU: Though Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) expects a production volume of 1,000 metric tonnes of coffee in the next 10 years, the production of coffee needs to pick up pace to meet the target.

NTCBD executive director Binay Kumar Mishra said that in 2008-09, the total coffee produced was 334 metric tonnes. In 2007, the yield was 270 metric tonnes. It is expected that production will be 100 metric tonnes in the next 10 years.

About the recent achievements of the tea and coffee sector, Mishra said, "NTCDB has prepared a five-year policy which will be proposed for the new fiscal year's budget for the promotion of tea and coffee sector." He also said there will be a fund of Rs 11 million granted by the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) under which coffee sector will be granted Rs 10 million while tea will be allocated Rs 1 million for promotion.

According to Mishra, along with the government support NTCDB will work for the enhancement of the tea and coffee sector, conduct research, study opportunities in sector and work for its market promotion. "We will grant 50 per cent of the fund required for coffee pulper machine and we will also conduct research on coffee in two districts among which one will be Surkhet," Mishra said. He also expressed disappointment that the Depart of Industry was not serious about giving the permission for logo and trademark launch of coffee in the international market though NTCBD has been seeking it for the last two-and-a-half years.

Recent NTCDB data show that currently 35 per cent of the coffee is consumed in the domestic market while 65 per cent is exported. Major importers of Nepali coffee are Japan, Korea, Holland, Belgium, the USA and several European countries. Meanwhile, about 16.2 million kilos of orthodox tea and CTC tea are produced here. Of this, the internal market demand is about 2.8 million kg while the rest is exported.

There are about 16,420 hectares of land occupied by tea bushes. The majority of the plantations is managed by small holders. The target is to extend plantation to 40,000 hectares with an expected harvest of 46 million kg of tea which could be worth $247 million and employment generation for 102,000 people in rural areas.

Nepali tea has its own brand of tea in the international market since 2001. It produces top grade filter coffee, with the brand 'Himalayan Specialty Coffee', but experts feel that it would jump the world market think if it had a special logo of its own. With a catchy logo, it would stand an ideal chance of establishing itself as the best coffee in the world.

The main coffee growing districts in Nepal are Lalitpur, Gulmi, Palpa, Kaski, Kavrepalanchowk, Sindhupalchowk and Arghakhanchi. Now, farmers in Baglung, Parbat, Gorkha, Lamjung, Tanahun, Rasuwa, Dhading, Nuwakot, Okhaldunga, Ramechhap and Ilam districts also have begun to grow coffee.