Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    The high GST rate, besides bringing down instant coffee consumption, would also have a significant impact on the coffee farmers of South India

    New Delhi / Bengaluru :

    The coffee industry has sought a review of the GST rates on instant coffee and the curing process, while stating that such high rates would hurt consumption and, eventually, growers’ realisations.

    Coffee growers are under pressure as the volatile trend in global prices, which directly influence local prices, has already kept their realisations in check.

    The GST on instant coffee has been fixed at 28 per cent, while the curing or dry processing of the beans attracts a levy of 18 per cent.

    Parity sought with tea

    Making a case for reduction in GST on instant coffee, The India Coffee Trust, represented by various stakeholders from the sector, has appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office to bring it down to 18 per cent, on par with the instant tea.

    Anil Kumar Bhandari, President, ICT, in a letter to the PMO, said the high GST rate, besides bringing down instant coffee consumption in the country, would also have a significant impact on the coffee farmers of Karnataka and South India, since instant coffee manufactures will source less raw coffee from them.

    According to the ICT, of the 3.46 lakh tonnes of raw coffee produced in the country, about 2.78 lakh tonnes is exported, while the rest is consumed domestically.

    Of the 0.78 lakh tonnes consumed domestically, about 50,000 tonnes is used in the form of roast and ground, while the remaining 28,000 is consumed as instant coffee.

    South India accounts for the bulk of the coffee consumption, though off-take has picked up in the northern States in recent years.

    The Trust said instant coffee is largely consumed by poor consumers and the cost per cup is lower when compared to the roast and ground.

    It also said that higher tax would impede the development of the coffee habit in North and East India.

    Seeking a cure

    Meanwhile, the All India Coffee Curers Association has demanded the withdrawal of 18 per cent GST levied on coffee curing.

    Curing involves dry processing and grading of green coffee beans.

    As curing is an investment-intensive process, the majority of coffee growers normally outsource the dry processing of the green beans to curing works, where they are processed, graded and sorted.

    “Any levy on curing would eventually hit farm-gate prices, thereby reducing growers’ realisations. The government should withdraw the levy,” said AN Devaraj, President of the All India Coffee Curers Association.

    Farm-gate price worries

    Coffee growers are concerned about how the impact of the GST levy on curing will influence farm-gate prices, even as the early harvesting of the arabica variety has begun in parts of Kodagu and Chikmagalur, the main growing regions.

    “The GST on curing may impact farm-gate prices. With the season yet to start in full swing, it is too early to quantify the impact,” said HT Pramod, Chairman of the Karnataka Planters’ Association.

    Arabica prices are hovering between ₹7,000 and ₹7,200 per 50-kg bag for the parchment, while arabica cherry prices are in the ₹3,700-4,000 per bag range, lower than last year.

    “We are waiting for clarity on this issue. No sale of coffee from the new crop has taken place as growers are not in a hurry to sell as prices are low,” said N Bose Mandanna, a grower in Kodagu.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Economy> AgriBusiness / by KR Srivats & Vishwanath Kulkarni / October 30th, 2017

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    Speciality coffee products, support and shared value are key to success

    Ten years ago, the residents of Kabada Boddaput — in southeastern India’s remote Araku valley — were impoverished subsistence farmers, living in mud huts and getting by on the millet, yams, pumpkin and greens they grew on their one- to five-acre plots.

    Cash was scarce and emergencies meant borrowing from friends and family — debts that might take years to repay. “It was a very terrible situation,” recalls Sanyasi Gullela, a farmer. “There were not enough clothes and no money for cattle.”

    But life has changed dramatically for Kabada Boddaput’s tribal farmers — along with around 13,000 others in the Araku valley — since they began cultivating coffee, encouraged by the Naandi Foundation, a Hyderabad-based philanthropic organisation.

    Last year, Mr Gullela earned Rs105,000 ($1,640) from coffee, which he grows on 1.3 of his three acres of land, and additional funds from the pepper vines coiling around the surrounding shade trees. In recent years, these earnings have financed four cattle for ploughing and an auto-rickshaw for his son. His neighbour has purchased a second-hand tractor.

    Daily life has improved, with the newfound cash used to buy more nutritious food, such as lentils, and new clothes. Some locals have upgraded their mud homes with cement and tiles. “Nowadays, I have a lot of choices,” says G. Tirupati Rao, who grows coffee on two of his 3.5 acres. “What we want we can easily buy from the market. Earlier, we had to compromise.”

    While around the world coffee has developed a reputation for bringing few tangible benefits to those toiling to grow it, the view in the Araku valley is different. The crop — grown bio-dynamically without costly fertilisers or agrochemicals — has become an unlikely stepping stone to socio-economic progress for some of India’s most neglected and marginalised peoples. “Coffee has given dignity to farmers,” says Chiranjeevi Naidu, a board member for the Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers Mutually-Aided Co-operative Society, set up in 2006 to process the coffee grown through the Naandi project.

    The Araku valley has a history of coffee production dating back to the colonial era, when British planters grew thousands of acres. After independence, India’s government-run Coffee Board took over the plantations, employing local people. And the board gave coffee seeds to farmers, although few flourished in the absence of other support.

    But many Araku farmers were eager to keep trying. “They said: ‘Anything that was valuable in India, the British took control of, so coffee must be valuable’,” says Manoj Kumar, Naandi’s chief executive officer.

    Naandi’s corporate donors were less enthusiastic, he recalls. “I’ve never heard of anyone coming out of poverty through coffee,” one told him. But Mr Kumar — who had rather stumbled into the coffee business when he was asked in 2004 to develop “livelihood projects” to help Araku farmers — was undeterred. Naandi promised technical support with cultivation and offered to market the farmers’ produce overseas.

    Since then, Naandi’s agricultural experts have taught Araku’s novice growers to produce top-quality organic coffee, some of which is being sold as “speciality” coffee to select roasters and traders from Japan, Korea, and Europe. These high-end buyers — who taste and rate each lot before purchasing — are willing to pay up to Rs700 per kg for the best of the beans. The bio-dynamic agriculture practised by the Araku farmers is labour intensive but requires no costly cash inputs. Farmers enrich the soil through mulching, using leaves, fallen fruits and other freely available organic matter. They use inexpensive, herbal soil additives to enhance soil fertility and fight pests.

    They have learnt the discipline of harvesting beans only when they are bright red and fully ripe. For these efforts, co-op members last year received a guaranteed price of Rs375 per kg of top quality, fully-ripened beans.

    From that, the co-op — where the beans are processed within 12 hours of being harvested — deducts Rs90 per kg for transport and processing, with Rs280 per kg profit left for the farmer.

    This compares with Rs90-Rs110 per kg that Indian farmers typically receive for bulk coffee to be sold on the New York Commodity Exchange.

    “If you want to do sustainable coffee at scale, it has to be speciality coffee,” says Mr Kumar. “When they buy, they pay more than anyone else will pay.”

    Problems remain, especially in finding enough buyers willing to pay a premium for all the high-quality coffee the Araku farmers can produce. Last year, co-op members grew 100 tonnes of coffee, but Naandi is working with another 7,000 farmers whose saplings will mature soon, and other villages are pleading to join the initiative.

    Mr Kumar believes Araku’s coffee output could easily rise to 500 tonnes or more. But the total world market for speciality coffee was just 10m tonnes in 2011 — although it is said to be growing fast — and speciality coffee buyers tend to buy in small lots from diverse regions around the world. “I don’t have enough high-quality buyers,” Mr Kumar admits.

    To expand the market for its own speciality coffee, Naandi recently raised $5m from its Indian philanthropists for Araku Originals — its dedicated, for-profit, coffee marketing arm — to market its wares in Europe.

    Araku Originals has opened a flagship store in Paris and is also selling its coffee though 34 other gourmet food shops and other upmarket retail outlets across France. The coffee that does not make the grade as speciality coffee is sold as organic, fair trade coffee elsewhere in Europe. “We are a benevolent link to the international market,” Mr Kumar says. “It can’t just be procured and dumped.”

    Despite the challenges, Mr Kumar is convinced that coffee can be made a sustainable cash crop for farmers — but only if those involved across the industry are willing to share the profits more generously.

    “You need a very clear-cut, shared-value business model with the farmer,” he adds. “Otherwise, it won’t work.”

    source: http://www.ft.com / Financial Times / Home> Agricultural Production / by Amy Kazmin / September 24th, 2017

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    We can only wonder why the rich love this


    Before you take a sip of Civet coffee, the world’s most expensive coffee, there are two things you should know: 1) A single kilo of it costs between ₹20,000 to ₹25,000; for those who don’t buy their own groceries – that’s approximately 25 times (2500% more) of what your everyday brew retails at, and 2) It is made from the droppings of the Civet cat.

    That’s right, droppings as in that smiley brown emoji you love sending your sibling.

    Though it is a common drink of the elite in both the richest parts of the Middle East and Europe, you won’t have to go too far to take a sip. Civet coffee is made right here in India, in Karnataka’s Coorg and Chamarajnagar districts. Its high price comes from the uncommon (to say the least) method that is involved in its production.

    There’s a reason why the most expensive coffee in the world derives it’s name from the civet cat, a largely nocturnal creature that resembles any child a raccoon and a cat may have some day. The end of the civet’s digestive process is the beginning of the coffee’s life cycle.

    When the civet eats the flesh of the coffee cherries, the natural enzymes in the animal’s stomach enhances the flavour of the eaten bean within those cherries. The bean is then found in the poop of the civet, processed and, after a routine check, packaged. The fact that it has been through the civet’s digest tract is what apparently makes it nutritious and its steep price tag attributed to the high cost that goes into sourcing the animal and quality certification.

    However, unlike other countries where civets are caged and fed forcefully, India uses a more natural method: the waste of wild civets is collected from coffee plantations that stand at the edge of the forests in Coorg and Chamarajnagar. That’s great news for farmers too because though we’re no coffee experts ourselves, we’re going to guess that locally sourced organic coffee bean-laden poop fetches a better price than the cage manufactured variety.

    source: http://www.gqindia.com / GQ / Home> Live Well> Drink / by Tracy Ann / September 20th, 2017

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    Coffee Board to finalise estimates after consulting stakeholders

    Coonoor :

    India is becoming a manufacturing hub for instant coffee after Brazil and Peru, said Y Raghuramulu, Director of Research, Coffee Board.

    In his presentation on coffee at the 124th UPASI annual conference here, he said the country is doing extremely well on the export front

    The total volume of export between April and August this year stood at 1.78-lakh tonnes, up from 1.63-lakh tonnes in the corresponding period the previous year.

    The country has moved from bulk exports to value-added coffee exports, he said. “We are consistently importing more for re-export. Imports are mainly for value-addition and re-exports by EOUs with duty free under FTP.”

    Import volumes during 2015-16 stood at 65,618 tonnes and the re-export volume at 67,283 tonnes. This surged to 78,042 tonnes and 79,254 tonnes the following year. Value-wise, the imports were estimated at ₹927 crore (₹802 crore) in 2016-17 and re-export at ₹ 1,346 crore against ₹1,147 crore in the previous year.

    Green coffee exports account for 70 per cent of the total export volume, with specialty green coffee exports inching its way from 3.20 per cent between April and August last year to 3.80 per cent during the corresponding months of this year. Value-added coffee exports have stagnated at around 25 per cent.

    Reverting to production, Raghuramulu said: “USDA has forecast India’s production at 3.3-lakh tonnes, but the Coffee Board is yet to release the estimate for 2017-18. The board is in consultation with various associations for finalising the estimates. We do not want to release as in earlier years and come out with a revision.”

    The board has undertaken a couple of fresh initiatives, such as the revamping of India Coffee House, brand ambassadors to promote Indian coffee and organising outreach programmes.

    “We are looking to franchise at least 10,000 vending machines in the medium-term. Our initiatives will indirectly benefit small coffee growers. We have also initiated discussions with small growers to form producer organisations to help them achieve better returns.”

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> AgriBusiness / by L N Revathy / September 13th, 2017

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    Dive Brief:

    Eight O’Clock Coffee has expanded its line of infused Arabica coffees with three new products designed to appeal to younger and more adventurous java fans, according to a news release.

    Joining its already established Relax Decaf and Alert Hi-Caffeine coffee blends is an offering blended with acai berries, another with turmeric and cinnamon, and a third featuring a fruit and herbal concoction rich in vitamin B6.

    Established in 1859 as the house blend for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Eight O’Clock Coffee is now a subsidiary of India-based Tata Global Beverages, which also owns Tetley tea in the U.K. and Good Earth Tea in the U.S.

    Dive Insight:

    Eight O’Clock Coffee is far from the first coffee brand to offer infused and functional blends. There have long been various flavor-infused coffees in the marketplace, and now there are wine-infused and THC-infused coffees for that extra buzz. VitaCup produces a line of vitamin-infused coffees sold in pods for one-time use with specialized machines.

    Tata Global Beverages has applied several marketing tools to reinvigorate its Eight O’Clock Coffee brand since acquiring it from Gryphon Investors in 2006. The former A&P grocery chain in-store coffee brand was sold to the private equity firm in 2003.

    Tata pulled out all the stops last year with a marketing campaign promoting whole bean coffee to consumers, and in 2012 joined with Green Mountain to launch Eight O’Clock K-cups for Keurig coffee machines. That move is credited with helping Eight O’Clock Coffee take a 7% share of the single-serve market within two years.

    The popularity of packaged coffee has been growing recently, primarily due to double-digit growth in the single-serve format. Ready-to-drink varieties are also becoming a popular choice and pose a challenge to the Eight O’ Clock brand as consumers increasingly prize convenience. It’s unclear if the health and flavor benefits of turmeric and cinnamon, or the trendy flavor of acai will win millennials over to taking the time to brew coffee.

    Tata clearly plans to continue efforts to better position Eight O’Clock Coffee within the very competitive packaged coffee marketplace, and these infused products are one more example. Whether they will resonate with younger coffee drinkers — who are typically more receptive to trendy formulations and packaging — is something Tata along with other companies will closely follow in the months ahead.

    source: http://www.fooddive.com / FoodDive / Home / by Cathy Siegner / September 19th, 2017

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    Take your love for cats to the next level by consuming their faeces. Yes, coffee made out of cat poop is now available in India.

    What happens when you take your love for cats to the next level? You consume their faeces. Yes, you read that right. Civet coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world and is made from the excreta of civet cats. India has recently delved into the production of this purr-fect coffee and we’re pretty excited. The production will start at a very small scale at Coorg in Karnataka. Being the third largest producer of coffee, we gotta try out everything that’s out there, right. If you’re wondering what this coffee looks like, here you go:


    Here’s the icky part: The coffee is made by getting the civet cat to ingest coffee beans. Then the cat’s poop is collected and processed. Why would someone do that, you ask? And WHY is this cat-poop thingy the most expensive coffee on the planet? Well, this coffee is considered more nutritious than other varieties of coffee and there are a lot of certifications involved too. The cat eats the flesh off of the coffee berries and not the actual bean plus the enzymes in the cat’s stomach enhance the bean flavour and that’s why this coffee is such a big hit all over the world!

    A startup called Coorg Consolidated Commodities is producing this cat poop coffee and they’ve also decided to open up a café to serve this coffee locally! This coffee is presently being sold locally under the name ‘Ainmane’ and is available only at the Club Mahindra Resort at Madikeri for Rs 8,000 per kg.

    source: http://www.inuth.com / inUth.com / Home> Lifestyle> Food / by Fukres / September 14th, 2017

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    Indian coffee exporters are eagerly waiting for the harvest of the arabica crop which is likely to set in early because of intense rains over the last few weeks in the arabica growing regions of Karnataka, the largest producer in the country.

    Early harvest of arabica could be good for exports as the shipments of this variety have been down this year compared with robusta, which accounts for 70 per cent of the Indian coffee production.

    “Usually, the arabica harvest starts by the end of November and goes into full swing in December. This time, it could be a bit early because of rains,” said Anil Bhandari, a major coffee grower. As per Coffee Board data for the period from January 1 to September 12, 2017, shipments are up by over 5 per cent compared with same period last year at 2,80,447 tonnes.

    The increase has come from export of robusta cherry and parchment varieties.”We expected shipments to be sluggish in the second half of 2017. But improved availability of robusta has changed the calculations. We are getting a good supply of robusta from Kerala.The trend may continue for a few more weeks,” said Ramesh Rajah, president of Coffee Exporters Association of India.

    But growers are not very optimistic about the crop, particularly robusta, for the next year.Prolonged dry weather early in the year has hit the robusta crop.”We expect around 3 lakh tonnes totally ­ 90,000 tonnes of arabica and 2,10,000 tonnes of robusta. With prices of black pepper also down, we have been robbed off our extra income,” said MM Chengappa, chairman of Karnataka Planters’ Association.Indian coffee production in 201617 stood at 3,16,700 tonnes.

    source: http://www.economictimes.indiatimes.com / The Economic Times / ET Home> Markets> Commodities> News / by P.K.Krishnakumar, ET Bureau / September 14th, 2017

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    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating a public meeting at Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district on Thursday.

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating a public meeting at Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district on Thursday.

    Demands include support to coffee cultivation and checking elephant menace

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman interacted with coffee growers at Mudigere on Thursday. The growers placed a number of demands before her, including finding a permanent solution to the elephant menace.

    Representatives of Karnataka Growers’ Federation, Black Gold League and other organisations participated in the interaction.

    B.L. Shankar, coffee planter and former MP, said the production of Arabica coffee had been declining every year. He wanted the government to take steps to support Arabica cultivation.

    “Coffee cultivation has been hit by many problems; there is also shortage of workers,” he said.

    Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje stressed the need for research to address the stem borer attack, which had been causing huge losses to the growers.

    C.T. Ravi, Chikkamagaluru MLA, wanted an ESI hospital in Chikkamagaluru, as there were a large number of workers in the plantations. Black Gold League president Kenjige Keshava appealed to the Minister to set up a spices park in Chikkamagaluru.

    Interest waiver

    Representatives of Karnataka Growers’ Federation sought waiver of interest on coffee loans and also five instalments to repay the dues.

    B.S. Jairam, chairman of the federation, told The Hindu: “We submitted a memorandum listing all our demands. We have sought waiver of interest and bringing down interest on loans. We have also urged the government to take measures to check elephant menace in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts.”

    Ms. Sitharaman said the government would take steps to increase coffee production and expand its market overseas.

    “Growers in Andhra Pradesh, who began coffee cultivation only a few years ago, have succeeded in marketing it in America. If they could do, why can’t the growers in Hassan, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru do?” she asked. The government was committed to encouraging coffee growers. After many years, and for the first time, a coffee planter had been appointed chairman of the Coffee Board. This showed the government’s commitment to supporting coffee cultivation, she added.

    Coffee Board chairman M.S. Boje Gowda was present during the interaction.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States / by Special Correspondent / Chikkamagaluru – June 16th, 2017

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    WildKaapi01KF03jun2017 Wild Kaapi, your morning coffee comes from certified estates that support gaurs, elephants and monkeys, along with Arabica beans

    Under the cool canopy of native trees in the Western Ghats, coffee bushes spread out, gleaming with red berries. In the early morning hours, if you are lucky, you may spot rare species like the Malabar grey hornbill, water snow flat butterfly or the Asian fairy bluebird among these shade-loving plants. And now, thanks to the efforts of Wild Kaapi — the world’s first ‘certified wildlife-friendly’ coffee brand — you can ensure your morning brew comes from plantations that foster fauna on their lands. Started by wildlife conservationist, Krithi K Karanth — who has has been working in the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, for the last 19 years — and her husband, Avinash Sosale, the coffee brand got its certification this April and opened its doors to buyers last month.

    (photo credit: Ramki Sreenivasan)

    (photo credit: Ramki Sreenivasan)

    Live and let live

    Wild Kaapi started as an offshoot of a three-year research project (part of a grant by the National Science Foundation to study coffee, areca and rubber plantations in the Western Ghats). Karanth, of the Centre for Wildlife Studies — with Paul Robbins of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr Ashwini Chhatre of University of Illinois — measured biodiversity, and studied labour practices and market dynamics of the farming areas.

    During the project, she interacted with over 1,000 planters in the three coffee growing areas of Karnataka — Kodagu, Chikmagalur, and Hassan — and realised how frustrated they were “because they weren’t getting value for their coffee due to the middlemen involved”. That’s when the idea for Wild Kaapi originated, and the duo is now exploring new ways to get a premium price for products that support wildlife. “This includes social enterprises that can contribute to conservation action. (After all) traditional wildlife conservation relies heavily on donors,” says Sosale, who quit a career in automotive business to be a part of the venture. “At this stage we have two commitments: we have told coffee growers we will pay them the highest price, and, with the profit we generate, we will build a conservation fund to award grants to young conservationists,” he adds.


    Animal tales

    Millennials are more discerning towards coffee, observes Sosale. “Today’s consumer is informed. Ethical and conscious consumption is what we want to tap into.” To qualify for certification, the coffee not only had to have a good cupping (tasting) score, but the plantation had to support a vast biodiversity. Of the more than 187 farms they audited (recording the species of birds, butterflies, mammals, amphibians and trees), only four made the cut: Agora (with 124 species), Bindiga (137), Hulikere (119) and Cornerstone (120). Wild Kaapi has named their single-origin Arabicas after the plantations they are sourced from.


    Shreedev Hulikere, a third-generation coffee grower with 60 acres in Chikmagalur, who is partnering with Wild Kaapi, says he wasn’t aware of the numerous wildlife species on their estate till now. “While my ancestors traditionally hunted, I’m a conservationist. I tell my labourers not to destroy any bird nests. I know that barbets nest here and they eat the borer worms that destroy coffee. Similarly, I’m not going to chase away the monkeys and civets that eat my coffee because I’m being compensated elsewhere. Just because a porcupine destroys a pepper creeper, I’m not going to hunt it down,” he says.

    Love thy neighbour

    The audit also revealed a few surprises. “We found frogs listed as endangered or threatened in the IUCN Red List (the world’s most comprehensive inventory of global conservation status) at these plantations,” says Karanth. The certification not only places their coffee in a premium space, but also paves the way for a new movement. “If you have wildlife-friendly practices, you can promote sustainable agriculture. We are trying to establish a new model — a profitable enterprise that also enables better livelihoods. This hasn’t been tried before; it’s a new way of thinking,” says Karanth.

    (photo credit: Ramki Sreenivasan)

    (photo credit: Ramki Sreenivasan)

    While their immediate goal is to prove that such a model is sustainable, Sosale is also mulling introducing coffee scrubs, soaps, candles and flavourings — all huge product lines in the international space. Moving into pepper and cardamom, which grow hand-in-hand with coffee, also holds much promise.

    Prices start at ₹390 for 250 gms.

    To know more, and buy the coffee, check out wildkaapi.com.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Homes and Gardens / by Bhumika K / June 02nd, 2017

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    Coffee Board chairman M S Boje Gowda, at a function in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Somashekar GRN

    Coffee Board chairman M S Boje Gowda, at a function in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Somashekar GRN

    Boje Gowda rues India’s low 200-g consumption compared to 7-8 kg in the West

    Bengaluru :

    Boosting domestic consumption is crucial to protecting the interests of coffee growers, according to MS Boje Gowda, the newly-appointed coffee Board Chairman.

    After 70 years, the Coffee Board has a grower as its chief in Boje Gowda, who is third generation planter. Till recently, bureaucrats headed the apex decision-making body for the coffee sector, under the Ministry of Commerce.

    Gowda, of Krishnagiri Estate in Chikmagalur, takes over at a time when growers are grappling with volatile prices, fluctuating output that’s largely being influenced by a changing climatic pattern on account of erratic rainfall, and pest issues such as the white stem borer.

    Addressing growers after assuming office, Gowda said the annual per capita coffee consumption in India is not even 200 grams, while in the western world it is 7-8 kg, thereby leaving tremendous scope to boost the domestic offtake. He said there was a need to boost consumption beyond the traditional consuming States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. “It would become a difficult situation for the growers unless the domestic consumption expands,” he said.

    Gowda, a large planter, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of doubling coffee output from the current 3 lakh tonnes to 6 lakh tonnes. India consumes merely a third of the coffee produced in the country as over two-thirds of the output is exported, mainly to Europe and Russia.

    Karnataka, the main growing region that accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s coffee output, has been reeling under a drought for the past three years. Gowda said he would focus on improving the water storage facilities and take up the growers’demand for higher subsidy for increasing the coverage of drip irrigation.

    Coffee growers gets only 25 per cent subsidy on the equipment cost for taking up drip irrigation, while for other plantation products such as rubber and cardamom, the subsidy component is around 80 per cent, Gowda said.

    Drones to forecast crop
    Addressing growers, Coffee Board Secretary Srivatsa Krishna said the body was exploring the option of using drones for better crop forecasting. Krishna said the current crop estimation was not right and the Board was looking at ways to improve the crop estimate. The Board has been in talks with 7-8 start-ups on deployment of drones for improving the accuracy of crop forecast.

    Krishna said the Board is also working on creating water harvesting solutions and is exploring options such as cloud seeding. On the issue of white stem borer, a pest that attacks plants of arabica coffee, Krishna said the board has reached out to biotech firms to evolve a solution and that pilots are being carried out in some plantations.

    Highlighting the importance of branding, Krishna said the growers should come out with region-specific brands such as Chikmagalur and Mysuru.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Agri Business / by The Hindu Business Line Bureau / Bengaluru – May 17th, 2017

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