More than 30,000 farmers are engaged in coffee production in Nepal

Due to a growing number of coffee drinkers in Nepal and a consequent increase in domestic demand, exports have dropped and imports have swelled, said the Tea and Coffee Development Board of Nepal.

Coffee shipments plunged 22 percent in the last fiscal year, however, revenues rose to Rs 52.39 million from Rs 45.25 million previously. Meanwhile, imports climbed to Rs 34.80 million from Rs 31.73 million.

Market watchers said that exports had not grown significantly despite the potential due to limited local production.

At the same time, the domestic market has greatly expanded with more Nepalis drinking the beverage of late, they added.

Domestically produced coffee is filter coffee which is roasted, ground coffee beans. Imported coffee, on the other hand, is instant coffee.

According to the board, around 430 tonnes of green beans are consumed per annum in the country.

“Though we don’t have the exact figures, filter coffee has started replacing instant coffee these days,” said Raman Prasad Pathak, executive director of the board.

Pathak added that the board was running various trainings and programmes in a bid to increase coffee production.

“We are planning to double the output within five years,” he said. Coffee producers also said that the market within the country was expanding.

Meanwhile, Shyam Prasad Bhandari, president of the Nepal Coffee Entrepreneurs Association, said that many traders had stopped exporting coffee due to the rapidly rising demand in the domestic market.

“The domestic market for filter coffee is spreading and has tremendous growth potential as more and more people have started consuming it,” he said. According to the association, there are 140 cafes in the Kathmandu valley serving filter coffee, and demand from other major cities has been increasingly rapidly.

“Three years ago, I used to export coffee to various countries, but as the market demand within the country has been rising, I started selling it only locally,” said Krishna Ghimire who sells Neko and Himcafe brands of coffee.

He added that demand for green and roasted beans had jumped 50 percent. “We sold around 150 tonnes of coffee last year against 75 tonnes in the year before,” he said.

Ghimire, who supplies green beans to popular coffee shops in the valley like Himalayan Java, Himalayan Coffee and Beans Café, among others, is being inundated with orders. “Although I collect the cherry from 22 districts, I am not able to fulfil demand as production has failed to keep pace with consumption,” said Ghimire.

The board has fixed the minimum support price of parched coffee for farmers at Rs 285 per kg. Green beans are being sold at Rs 700-Rs 800 per kg while roasted coffee is being sold at Rs 1300-Rs 1,400 per kg in the wholesale market.

In the last fiscal year 2013-14, Nepal produced 524 tonnes of coffee, up from 457 tonnes in the previous fiscal.

According to the board, more than 30,543 farmers in 40 districts are engaged in coffee production on 1,911 hectares of land.

Gulmi, Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Lalitpur, Tanahu, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Lamjung, Kaski, Gorkha, Syangja, Parbat and Baglung are the major coffee producing districts in the country.



- Courtesy Kantipur.com