The Himalayan Times, 11 Jan 2018
The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) has approved the five-year Coffee Development Strategy (2018-22) submitted by the National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) in September.
The NTCDB board led by the agriculture minister approved it recently, according to Sheshkanta Gautam, executive director of NTCDB. Along with this, the Board has brought this strategy into implementation since the beginning of 2018.
The NTCDB developed the five-year strategic plan to enhance the productivity and quality of coffee in the country. Through the execution of this five-year strategy the Board expects to double the output of coffee from the existing 434 metric tonnes. Cultivation area will also be expanded to achieve the targeted production and improving the quality of coffee is also in priority. The NTCDB has sought a budget of Rs 48 million to implement the strategy.
The strategy focuses on five major strategic dimensions to realise the ultimate goal of commercial farming of Nepali Arabica coffee in
all the 41 districts of the country that have been identified as suitable for coffee cultivation.
Gautam further informed that the strategy focuses on Arabica variety of coffee, which is largely being cultivated in the country and can fetch comparatively higher prices as compared to Robusta coffee, which is also cultivated in the country and has high demand in the
Currently, coffee is being cultivated on 2,618 hectares of land in 41 districts and the annual production is below 500 metric tonnes. Around 30,500 farmers are involved in coffee cultivation. The country had exported 112.37 tonnes of green bean in fiscal 2015-16 mainly to South Korea, Japan, China and Germany, according to NTCDB. The country is still a net importer of coffee due to low production.
According to the strategic plan, NTCDB in coordination with Nepal Agriculture Research Council and the Coffee and Tea Development Section under MoAD, will support the research works and carry out various activities aimed at making farmers aware about higher yields from coffee production and motivate them to take up coffee plantation in larger areas of land in the 41 identified districts.
Cultivation area will also be elevated to the upper areas of the hilly districts as the perennial rise in global temperature may cause loss in existing cultivation areas in the future.
Similarly, various activities to manage pests and diseases in coffee plants will be designed and implemented shortly, through which the Board expects to boost production and quality of Nepali coffee. The strategic plan has also spoken about amending the National
Coffee Policy-2003 to motivate farmers towards quality production and increase export of coffee in the international market to earn foreign currency.
The plan has also identified the need to revise the existing coffee policy to develop linkages in national as well as international
markets, increase sales of Nepali coffee to address the growing demand, and maintain the image of Nepali organic coffee in the international market.
On the other hand, proper management of coffee subsector development programmes and coordination with relevant stakeholders are expected to lead to achievement of efficiency in negotiating and justifying organic certification, fair trade recognition and
increased sales in both national and international markets, according to the strategic plan.
The strategic plan has also highlighted the crucial aspect of market promotion and trademark registration of Himalayan Coffee in every possible export destination.
The strategy developed by NTCDB, with support of the European Union-funded Trade and Private Sector Development Programme under the Ministry of Commerce, is expected to enhance the production base of coffee in the country.