National Coffee Day to be observed today

Kathmandu, November 16

Over two million coffee seedlings will be distributed to farmers at highly subsidised rate in 41 districts of the country’s mid-hill region, in a bid to lure more farmers in production of coffee.

The National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) has already explored potential sites to develop nurseries as part of the major focus for whole year to expand the cultivation of major cash crop — coffee. NTCDB announced its plans today on the eve of 11th National Coffee Day. The National Coffee Day is marked on Mangsir 1 every year.

Despite having tremendous production potential, the country still imports coffee to meet its domestic demand. The country’s annual demand for coffee is around 7,000 tonnes but the production last year stood at mere 463.58 tonnes, according to NTCDB.

Last fiscal, the country exported 99.85 tonnes of coffee that amounted to Rs 99.3 million, while Rs 56.46 million worth of coffee was imported.

Nepal launched commercial farming of coffee in 1998, but there has been nominal progress in expansion of

cultivation area and production. A review of the figures of last five years shows an increase in production of only 36.58 tonnes and expansion of 751 hectares of cultivation area. The country produced 463.58 tonnes of coffee from 2,381 hectares of land in fiscal 2014-15.

“Coffee is being cultivated in 41 districts of Nepal, however, only 23 districts have been producing coffee at commercial scale,” informed Sheshkanta Gautam, executive director of NTCDB, adding, “There is huge demand for Nepali coffee in western countries.”

The government has also prioritised coffee production, which could play a crucial role in alleviating poverty in rural areas.

In this regard, the NTCDB has been luring farmers in coffee production as farmers can reap better returns than in crops like maze, millet, which are cultivated in a large scale in the mid-hill areas.

As Nepali coffee is hugely popular in western countries and other parts of the world, the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) has prioritised trademark registration of Nepali coffee in various countries so that consumers can recognise the speciality of Nepali coffee. Nepal has registered the trademark of Nepali coffee in the European Union, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

NTCDB has also been fixing the support price for coffee to safeguard the coffee farmers. It has fixed the support price for this year that will come into effect from Tuesday.

As per the price fixed by the NTCDB, organic certified fresh cherry will fetch Rs 80 per kg, second grade fresh cherry Rs 75 per kg, organic certified parchment coffee Rs 400 per kg and second grade parchment coffee Rs 375 per kg. Likewise, organic certified dry cherry will cost Rs 140 per kg, second grade dry cherry Rs 100 and third grade dry cherry Rs 40 per kg.

NTCDB has said that it will purchase coffee from the farmers if they are unable to get the mentioned rate from the buyers. The support price for coffee has been increased by up to 40 per cent this year.