MoCS launches project to develop coffee value chain

Nepal produces 366 tonnes of coffee beans, of which 225 tonnes are exported

Kathmandu, September 9

The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) today formally launched the Trade and Private Sector Development (TPSD) project to raise overall competitiveness of Nepali products at home and abroad, enable Nepali producers to comply with regulatory requirements in export markets, and provide support for the development of coffee value chain.

The six-million-euro project, supported by the European Union (EU) and launched in cooperation with the private sector, will continue till January 2018.

Speaking at the project launching programme, Commerce and Supplies Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa said: “The project should lay ample focus on quality control as this will ensure a place for Nepali products in the international market.”

One of the most important components of the project is providing support for the development of coffee value chain by helping producers to raise productivity, enhance output and export quality products.

The Arabica coffee produced in Nepal is regarded as specialty coffee in the international market because of its distinct flavour. Because of this, demand for Nepali coffee is continuously rising in various export markets across the globe.

Nepal currently produces around 366 tonnes of coffee beans, of which around 225 tonnes are exported. But it is said there is demand for 6,000 tonnes of Nepali coffee in the international market, which provides ample opportunity for coffee producers to expand production and export those products.

“Nepali coffee is carving a niche for itself abroad because of its novelty. So, there is potential for further exports,” said EU Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink, who has started extending coffee as souvenirs to friends back home.

Coffee has emerged as a product which could maximise earnings of farmers because its farming is over four times profitable than that of maize and over three times profitable than that of millet. Also, there is potential for expansion of coffee farming from existing 2,100 hectares of land to 41,000 hectares of land. But there are hurdles on the way.

Although it is said Nepal’s topography, soil and climate have helped the country grow a special type of coffee, yields are very low.

One coffee tree here produces less than three kg of coffee beans as against 17 kg abroad. Also, there is lack of processing centres here, and farmers are unaware of many types of diseases that could pose threat to crops.

In this regard, TPSD project aims to improve production and productivity of coffee, support processing facilities, promote marketing and develop quality standard for coffee. These programmes will be implemented in Gulmi, Palpa, Syangja, Kaski, Nuwakot, Kavrepalanchowk, Sindhupalchowk and Lalitpur. This will benefit coffee farmers, producers and traders, coffee cooperatives, private enterprises and certifying agencies, among others.

Also, the project intends to strengthen capacity of the National Tea and Coffee Development Board, other associated institutions and the Ministry of Agricultural Development.