Print Edition - 2014-11-18 | MONEY
Research given priority to boost coffee output
Nov 17, 2014-
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has given priority to research on coffee to increase production in districts having high potential, ministry officials said Monday. They added that research and development had become necessary as the country’s coffee production was still on the low side despite the tremendous possibilities.
“Recently, we established a coffee nursery in Baletaksar of Gulmi district to carry out research work. It is also expected to resolve the problems faced by local coffee growers,” said Agriculture Secretary Jaymukunda Khanal.
Speaking at an event organised by the National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB), he said that the ministry had also started research and development through the Nepal Agricultural Research Council.
Besides focusing on research, the government has also planned to split the NTCDB into two bodies, one to look after coffee and the other to deal with the tea sector. “We have to amend the existing act to form separate boards, and we have started work on this,” said Khanal.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Hari Prasad Parajuli said they had planned to introduce new technology to improve the sector’s productivity besides focusing on the promotion of the product in the international market.
According to him, the governments of Egypt and France have shown interest in promoting Nepali coffee in their countries. “They have shown interest to invest in coffee production, and have asked for concept papers,” he said. Meanwhile, coffee entrepreneurs have urged concentration on organic coffee farming to ensure its market in the international market. “At a time when Nepali coffee has been doing brisk business in the international market, organic coffee can secure good prices globally,” said Govinda Barakoti, president of the Central Coffee Cooperative Association.
He has asked the government to ease the process for providing agricultural subsidies to local farmers. “As most of the farmers are ignorant about preparing the proposal paper and other necessary documents, they have not been able to get subsidies,” he said.
Shyam Prasad Bhandari, president of the Nepal Coffee Entrepreneurs’ Association, has urged the government to form separate entities to look after tea and coffee respectively. “Although government records show that Nepal has potential to produce coffee on 1.1 million hectares of land, it is being cultivated on a mere 2,000 hectares due to the government’s apathy,” said Bhandari. He added that there was a need to implement a window policy and register a collective trade mark in the main export destinations.
The association, with support from the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, is in the process of registering the trade mark in 10 countries, he added. Driven by rising demand, coffee cultivation has expanded particularly in the last decade. According to the NTCDB, the production of coffee parchment swelled to 536 tonnes in 2013-14 from 114 tonnes in 2003-04. Gulmi, Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Lalitpur, Tanahu, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Lamjung, Kaski, Gorkha, Syangja, Parbat and Baglung are the major coffee producing districts in the country. Of late, cultivation has spread to Rukum, Salyan, Jajarkot, Panchthar, Myagdi and Sankhuwasabha districts.
Likewise, Japan, the US, Dubai, South Korea and the European countries are the main importers of Nepali coffee. Export have surged significantly in the last few years along with an increase in the area under cultivation. Nepal exported coffee worth Rs 52.39 million last year compared to Rs 24.26 million in 2009-10, said the NTCDB.
Published: 18-11-2014 10:06