December 2: Data of the National Tea and Coffee Development Board shows that the area of coffee farming in Nepal is increasing every year but the production on the other hand is declining. Due to the inability to improve the productivity, even though the area of land for coffee cultivation has increased, the production has not increased.
According to the data, in the fiscal year 2014/15, coffee farming was done on 2,381 hectares of land, which increased by 962 hectares to 3,343 hectares in the year 2021/22. On the contrary, coffee production, which was 463.58 metric tons in the fiscal year 2014/15, decreased by 109 metric tons to 355 metric tons in the year 2021/22.
The data of the last eight years shows that maximum 530 metric tons of coffee was produced in the year 2018/19. At that time, coffee was cultivated on 2,761 hectares of land.
The information officer of the board, Deepak Khanal, said that due to the poor fertility of the soil and the lack of quality seeds and fertilizers, the productivity could not be improved, resulting in a decline in production despite an increase in cultivation area. He said that since organic coffee is produced in Nepal, organic fertilizers are used instead of chemical fertilizers.
“However even that is not available in sufficient quantity,” he said, adding that Nepali coffee farmers have been able to use only one third of fertilizer required for the plant.
According to Khanal, the lack of quality seeds is another main reason for lackluster production. Arabica coffee cultivation started in Nepal in 1995 from Gulmi.
“After that, there has been no diversification of coffee varieties in Nepal. Since the seeds of the same species have been used for a long time, the production has not been good,” Khanal added.
Until a decade ago, consumption of coffee, which was known only as a drink of the elite class, has increased in recent times with the increment in the production area of coffee. However, production has not been able to keep up with the consumption, resulting in massive imports of coffee in large quantities every year. The board informed that in the year 2021/22 alone, 279 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 12.75 million was imported in Nepal.