November 26: There has been a substantial increase in the number of coffee consumers in Nepal due to the development of coffee culture in the country in recent years.
As a result, the import of foreign coffee has been increasing every year while the export of coffee produced in Nepal remains negligible comparatively.
According to the latest data provided by the National Tea and Coffee Development Board, coffee exports increased by 11 percent in the fiscal year (2079/80) compared to the previous year, while the imports increased by 155 percent.
According to the data, 77.86 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 134 million was exported from Nepal in the review year while 450 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 325.866 million was imported into the country.
In FY 2078/79, a total of 69.51 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 117 million was exported from Nepal. The data shows that 279.81 metric tons of coffee worth Rs 127.59 million was imported in that year. In the same year, coffee was cultivated on 3,343 hectares of land.
Director of the board Dr Deepak Khanal said that the main reason for the unexpected increase in coffee imports is the rise in domestic consumption. According to him, recently the trend of drinking coffee in Nepal is developing as a culture, so the number of cafes and outlets has also increased rapidly.
"The production of coffee could not increase in proportion to consumption, thus, encouraging imports," said Khanal.
According to Khanal, a large amount of coffee consumed in Nepal is imported from neighboring India. Recently, the price of coffee has also increased significantly.
Earlier, the customs duty on coffee imports was 40%, but now it is 58%.
According to the data of the board, even though the coffee plantation area is increasing in Nepal, the production is decreasing. In the year 2071/072, a total of 463 metric tons of coffee was produced in 2,381 hectares of land in Nepal. In the year 2079/80, only 394 metric tons have been produced on 3,655 hectares.
According to director Khanal, one of the reasons for the failure to increase production compared to the area of coffee cultivation in Nepal is the lack of research on coffee varieties. According to him, only Arabica coffee has been cultivated in Nepal for years. He pointed out the need for research on whether other species can produce better.
After planting coffee, it takes 4 to 5 years to produce. As it takes a couple of years for production, it takes time to reap benefit even if the production area is increased.