The government has, of late, started providing assistance for the expansion of coffee cultivation in Ilam after coffee started giving better yield.
The Tea and Coffee Development Board has started providing assistance to the farmers for growing coffee saplings and planting them.
The Board has introduced a programme to produce 200,000 saplings and collectively expand the cultivation to an area of more than 50 ropanis of land this year.
According to the Board, the programme has started cost sharing to grow at least 50,000 saplings from one farmer group or cooperative.
The Board has given the responsibility to grow 200,000 saplings this year. Accordingly, Progressive Coffee Producer Cooperative in Deumai Municipality-5, Jaimin Agriculture Farm in Ilam Municipality-11, Sadavahar Coffee Producer Cooperative in Suryodaya Municipality-14 and Yamsani Agriculture Farm in Maijogmai Rural Municipality-6 will produce the said saplings, said Indra Adhikari, Chief of the Tea Expansion Project, Suryodaya, which functions under the Board.
The Board has provided cost sharing assistance of Rs. 384,000 to these cooperatives and farms.
He said that the project has provided assistance to the Nawa Deep Multipurpose Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Group at Maijogmai-6 to plant coffee.
Adhikari said that Rs. 750,000 has been provided to the organisation for planting coffee in an area of at least 50 ropanis.
Dr. Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai, executive director of the Tea and Coffee Development Board, said that the plan has been forwarded to cultivate coffee in places where there is no tea as coffee is also produced well in some parts of Ilam, famous for producing tea.
“The aim is to make the production sufficient and set up a processing centre in the state,” said Bhattarai. “Even now, the demand for Nepali coffee is high in foreign markets.” Farmers said that at least 15 kg of coffee can be produced from one plant four years after planting it.
But due to lack of market access, coffee has to be sold at low prices, said Yam Karki, a farmer of Gajurmukhi, Ilam.
This year, farmers have sold raw coffee beans at an average rate of Rs. 100 per kg. Kedar Khatri of Ilam Bazaar, who has been trading coffee for the past five years, said that he has been planning to buy raw grains and sell by processing them.
“Raw grains could not be collected and sold this year due to COVID-19. It has been planned for sale after processing and drying the coffee,” said Khatri.
Khatri said, “We bought raw grains at Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 per kg.”
The collected coffee could not be sent to the market immediately, the processed coffee is still stocked in the warehouse.
According to Khatri, the coffee processed by three workers daily has to be sold at a higher price when their wages are added.
Khatri said he had bought 10,000 kg of coffee this year.
Coffee is cultivated in 91 hectares of land in Ilam. The total annual production of coffee in the district is 20 tonnes, according to the Agriculture Knowledge Centre, Ilam.
Source : THE RISING NEPAL,