EDITORIAL: Brewing success

While farmers can brew success with coffee cultivation, the country can earn foreign currency by exporting these humble beans

Nepal is a tea drinking country. However, for many in urban centres, coffee is a daily fix. But many of us still are unaware of some facts on coffee, especially when it comes to Nepali coffee -- its farming and its export potential. Despite Nepali coffee having great export potential, only limited efforts have been made to promote its cultivation. Amid this, one Nepali coffee brand has received rave reviews from Coffee Review, a platform that reviews the quality of coffee from across the world. In its latest review, Coffee Review has given Nepal’s “Lekali Coffee” 90 points out of 100, describing it as “one of the best from around the world”. This is the first coffee from Nepal ever rated by Coffee Review, which is considered world’s leading coffee guide. “The finish of the coffee is rich with notes of dark chocolate and almond in the short, with savoury-sweet hints of tamari and sandalwood incense in the long,” the guide’s website said.

Guarab Luitel, a planning officer, at Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB), said on Tuesday that “the recognition of Nepali coffee will help promote other domestic coffee brands in the global market.” Rightly so. According to the NTCDB, coffee can be commercially produced in many parts of the country. Nepal’s cool climatic conditions are considered suitable for planting and production of coffee. Coffee is grown on nearly 3,000 hectares of land in Nepal. Gulmi, Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Lalitpur, Tanahun, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Lamjung, Kaski, Gorkha, Syangja, Parbat and Baglung are some of the districts where coffee is grown, while a total of 40 hill districts have been identified as suitable for coffee farming.

But Nepali coffee is still struggling to make its mark in the international market. The government effort to promote Nepali coffee hence needs to be stepped up. Though a coffee research centre has been established in Gulmi, it has barely contributed in plantation and promotion of Nepali coffee.

The government needs to invest in setting up a state-of-the-art coffee research centre of international standard, where experts can be invited to do research on Nepali coffee and train farmers. The NTCDB in July last year had submitted a five-year Coffee Development Strategy (2018-22) aiming to enhance the productivity and quality of coffee in the country. The board also said it was aiming to increase the production of coffee from 464 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes annually in the next five years. However, like many other plans, this too seems to have been limited to papers only. Technology is necessity in today’s farming and focus should be on importing required technology to boost coffee farming. The government should promote value chain and marketing of the collective trade mark of Nepali coffee in the international market. We need to come up with planning, provide support to coffee growers and enhance

technology and investment to promote Nepali coffee, which has a great export value. These humble beans have become a life-changer for many farmers in Nepal, lifting them out of poverty. While many more farmers can brew success with coffee cultivation, the country can also earn foreign currency by exporting coffee.

No begging

It is a good move that the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) on Tuesday declared the Pashupati Area “no-begging” zone. The decision to this effect was taken in close coordination with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and various organisations which had been lobbying for making the sacred zone free from begging. Begging in the area had been a major problem as they used to disturb

the pilgrims.

The Pashupati area was declared the no-beggar zone after Human Service Ashram rehabilitated as many as 81 “genuine beggars” in the temple premises. Others who had resorted to begging for easy money left the area after learning that they had to live in the shelters offered by the PADT. The Ashram provides shelters, food, clothes and medical services to the homeless people. PADT has also made an arrangement of rehabilitating woman and children if they are found begging in the area. Human Service Ashram chief Govinda Tondon said his organization was ready to cooperate with the PADT to make the Pashupati area free from begging. The KMC has also pledged to provide logistics support to the PADT.