December 4: In the last eight years, coffee import has increased by 216 metric tons, while export has decreased by 30 metric tons. According to the National Tea and Coffee Development Board, this is the consequence of decline in the domestic production.
In the fisccal year 2014/15, a total of 63.80 metric tons of coffee worth about Rs 25 million was imported into Nepal. This figure increased by 216 metric tons to 279.81 metric tons by the fiscal year 2021/22, amounting to Rs 12.75 million.
According to the data of the board, during this period, the amount spent on coffee import increased by Rs 100.26 million. Similarly, during this period, the export volume decreased by 30 metric tons. In the fiscal year 2014/14, altogether 99.59 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 99.1 million were exported, which decreased to 69.51 metric tons in the fiscal year 2021/22. However, the amount earned from exports increased to Rs 11.7 million that year.
Deepak Khanal, information officer of the board, informed that Nepal has been unable to use the seeds of new varieties of coffee for a long time. There is also a lack of organic fertilizers used for coffee farming. As a result, production and exports have decreased. He added, “Until we understand why we are lagging behind in production and correct the weakness, we cannot improve the situation of production and export.”
Stakeholders say that even though Nepali coffee fetches higher prices in the international market because of its taste and quality, Nepal is not getting as much profit as it should due to the inability to increase exports.
According to a study conducted by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), more than 2,160 metric tons of coffee is consumed in Nepal every year. The study shows that its demand is increasing every day. Domestically produced coffee is not able to meet the demand of the country even for one month. This has led to an increase in imports.
According to the board, it is necessary to protect and encourage coffee farmers to meet the increasing demand in the domestic market, attract the young generation towards it, increase the cultivation in a limited area and transform it into a 'coffee estate'.