Chemical-free or organic farming could be the next revolution to solve food scarcity around the world.
Organic coffee beans produced in countries like Nepal would benefit nations by exporting such products to the foreign market to earn foreign currencies by trading organic food supplies.
Coffee, the most traded commodity after oil in the world has a huge demand for organic coffee beans among coffee lovers around the world.
With increasing overseas interest in organic coffee produced in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal, farmers have started commercial cultivation.
As farmers started to produce good Quality coffee beans in the district, traders started collecting and exporting to Japan, Korea, and Germany. Foreigners are making ‘bookings’ for the coffee to be produced in the coming season.
Coffee farming, which was started in some parts of the district fifteen years ago, has now expanded to 32 villages.
Farmer Sudarshan Bolkhe said that organic coffee produced in remote villages of the district received high demand in the international market and was able to fetch a good price according to the business cost.
Bhupendra Bhandari, President of the District Coffee Cooperative, informed that 18 metric tons of parchment and five metric tons of cherry coffee were exported to Japan, Korea, and Germany last year. The demand for organically certified coffee has increased after it was certified to be of high quality in the foreign market.
Madhu Thapa, the manager of the association, said that farmers have already formed 64 coffee production groups inside the district as their products were exported to the international market and big cities of Nepal.
According to him, the produced coffee is being exported abroad in coordination with the District Coffee Cooperative Association. Farmers have been bringing in more than one crore rupees annually to the district.
There are 2,150 farmers in the district in coffee farming. As the demand for processed coffee started increasing, a processing center has been established to process it at the production site.
Shankar Khanal of Melamchi Municipality-10 Shikharpur, who has been farming coffee for a long time, has been able to support his family solely in the coffee business. Khanal’s neighbors were surprised when they brought coffee plants to the millet and corn planting fields all over the village.
Later, when they started producing and selling coffee, the desire to drink coffee in the neighborhood also started to wake up. As a result, the neighbors of Khanal also started to grow coffee. After the villagers said that they also wanted to plant coffee, he started to establish a nursery to grow plants on their own in the village.
Having acquired a lot of knowledge in coffee farming, he said that although it was difficult to work at the beginning when the plants started to produce, he felt happy and encouraged to work.
Khanal’s experience is that even if a disease occurs in coffee plants, it is necessary to treat them carefully to be able to harvest the product. He said, “As far as possible, diseases and insects should be eradicated by using locally available natural insect-repellant herbs, cow urine, and burning infected plants instead of chemical pesticides.”
Now, not only Khanal of Shikharpur and his neighbors but also Retnath Lamichhane of Mahankal of Helambu Rural Municipality have made their barren fields green with coffee plants. Lamichhane said that coffee is produced well in these fields where millet hardly grows.
It is his experience that picking coffee from the plant and selling it to the coffee industry at good pricing has benefited him better than other yields from the same land.
Coffee plantation in Nepal is a long history but there are very few commercial farms and processors around. Most of the coffee beans are exported in the raw form either in dried cherry or as parchment coffee.
Nepal’s hilly regions are the optimum landscape for growing arabica coffee organically which has the largest demand among coffee-drinking people worldwide.