Coffee production rises, full potential untapped

Kathmandu, April 16

Production of coffee has been increasing gradually in the country in recent years along with growing coffee culture, although its full production potential is yet to be tapped, according to a study.

Sharing the findings of a report titled ‘Analysis of Habitat Suitability of Coffee in Nepal’, Gaurab Luitel, agriculture development officer of National Tea and Coffee Development Board, said, “Insufficient human resources, lack of research and low level of global exchanges of scientific findings have dampened coffee production in the country.”

According to data compiled by the board, a total of 513 metric tonnes of coffee beans were produced in fiscal year 2017-18, of which 84 metric tonnes were exported.

While production has been steadily on the rise — up from 466 metric tonnes in fiscal 2016-17, 434 metric tonnes in 2015-16, 463 metric tonnes in 2014-15 and 429 metric tonnes in fiscal year 2013-14 — Luitel pointed out that the country is yet to meet the market demand.

Currently, the country is exporting coffee to Japan, Jordan, Korea, Taiwan, the UAE, Cambodia, the US, Puerto Rico, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

Around 1.2 million hectares of land in the country is suitable for coffee cultivation, with 820,364 hectares moderately suitable, 402,646 hectares suitable, and 61,228 hectares highly suitable for coffee cultivation. As stated by the board, more than 27,000 households are involved in coffee farming in 42 districts of the country.

Some districts like Gulmi, Palpa, Argakhanchi, Lalitpur, Tanahu, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung, Kaski, Gorkha, Syangja, Parbat and Baglung are successfully growing and producing coffee beans.

According to Luitel, around 60 per cent of the produced coffee is being consumed within the country. “Increasing participation of small farmers and rise in production of organic specialty coffee are good signs for Nepali coffee industry,” he said. “Popular coffee chains like Himalayan Java, Kathmandu Coffee, RedMud Coffee and Red Cherry are the highest consumers of Nepali coffee.” There are around 6,000 coffee shops across the country.