COFFEE AS A NICHE CROP FOR MID-HILLS OF NEPAL
Ram Bahadur KC, Bhola Kumar Shrestha and Sanjay Dhimal
Coffee, the second largest commodity next to petroleum traded in the world market, is produced in more than 100 countries. Brazil is the world leader in production and America in consumption. Coffee, entered Nepal from Burma in 1938 has been extended to about 41 districts in the mid-hills of Nepal with significant potential as export commodity. It is a high value cash crop with environmental importance and is being popular among Nepalese people since last few decades. More than 30,000 small growers have been involved in coffee cultivation in about 1911 ha with 429 tons of green beans production in the year 2014. In line with the focus of periodic plans and policies, the Ministry of Agricultural Development has taken ample initiatives for the promotion of coffee cultivation. Thirteenth plan has also given attention for development of coffee sector as high value crops in the mid-hill regions of Nepal. Respecting the interest of the people on coffee and favorable climatic conditions for its cultivation, development organisations like HELVETAS Nepal are complementing to government organizations in coffee sub-sector development. In Nepal majority of coffee is wet processed and considered better quality coffee. Nepali coffee possesses specialty quality potential; have revealed 82-86 percent specialty quality, thus demand outstrips supplies. Lack of manpower, research on technologies and varieties to increase production and productivity, national policy and plans for promotion of organic and fair trade practices are the areas to review for coffee sub-sector development in Nepal.