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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    New Delhi (IANS) :

    The central government on Thursday appointed Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah as Chairman of Kolkata-based Tea Board and M.S. Boje Gowda as Chairman of Bengaluru-based Coffee Board.

    Bezboruah has been serving as the Chairman of Tea Research Association and Gowda is a well-known coffee grower.

    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the proposal to appoint them, an order of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

    Bezboruah is appointed for the period up to November 1, 2018, while Gowda will have a tenure up to December 14, 2018.

    “Necessary communication in this regard has been sent to the Department of Commerce,” the DoPT said.

    The Tea Board is entrusted with a supervisory role for tea industry, while the Coffee Board takes care of the interests of coffee growers.

    –IANS

    bdc/nir

    source: http://www.canindia.com / CanIndia.com / Home> Business> Economy / IANS / by CanIndia New Wire Services / May 04th, 2017

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    M S Jayashree, partner in the venture

    M S Jayashree, partner in the venture

    Bengaluru :

    If you are an avid coffee lover and miss the taste and aroma of filter coffee when you travel outside Karnataka, here is an instant solution.

    Mysuru-based HABICAF (Habit and Coffee) has come up with a readymade coffee decoction that will give you authentic coffee filter anytime you desire. They will be in Bengaluru from April 28 to 30 as part of the Organic and Millet Nation Trade fair at Palace Grounds.

    HABICAF which started marketing and selling its product in October last year is getting a good response. Vijai Bopanna hails from Kodagu, and for him, coffee estates were a common sight at his native, Gonikoppa. “I tried a couple of other ventures before starting HABICAF a few months ago. As packaging, we are supplying filter coffee decoction in a sachet with a nozzle,’’ he says. The sachet is specially designed to retain the aroma of the coffee, Bopanna adds. He says that they make filter coffee with the coffee powder from his hometown.

    “We use the traditional method to extract decoction, just like we do at home, but in a larger quantity. We add Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) – approved preservative that keeps the decoction fresh for longer time,” he adds. M S Jayashree is his partner in the venture. If the seal is not opened, one can use the decoction up to six months. If the seal of the nozzle is opened, it can be used up to 20 days without the need for refrigeration and 30 days when kept in a refrigerator. Each sachet contains 200 ml of decoction and can prepare 30 to 40 standard sized cups of coffee, depending on how strong the person loves his or her coffee.

    According to Bopanna, most of the coffee beans are procured from Coorg, Sakleshpur and Chikmagalur. For civet coffee, they are procuring beans from Indonesia. “We are coming up with many other flavours other than the regular coffee. Our flavours will be Vanilla, Cinnamon, Hazelnut and much more. We also coming up with herbals. There is cold brew coffee which can be served cold and without milk,’’he adds.

    HABICAF decoction is available in Mysuru and Bengaluru. “Very soon we are planning to sell our products through an e-commerce platform,’’ he says. “Right from getting the beans, making powder, adding chicory, extracting decoction, 90 percent of our processing is natural,’’ he adds.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Ashwin S. Sripad / Express News Service / April 26th, 2017

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    Fresh brew Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the launch of the Coffee Board’s soil health cards and web portal, in Bengaluru on Friday. To her right are GV Krishna Rau, Advisor -Agricultural Marketing & Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Arati Dewan Gupta, Director of Finance, Coffee Board

    Fresh brew Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the launch of the Coffee Board’s soil health cards and web portal, in Bengaluru on Friday. To her right are GV Krishna Rau, Advisor -Agricultural Marketing & Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Arati Dewan Gupta, Director of Finance, Coffee Board

    Bengaluru :

    Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman exhorted the Coffee Board on Friday to take up aggressive branding and promotion of Indian coffees.

    “It’s the age of branding. You need to brand everything. You need to have high profile marketing for everything to reach even the lower end of the pyramid,” she said.

    The Minister was speaking at an event where she distributed soil health cards to growers and launched a web portal — a Coffee Board initiative towards soil fertility appraisal and soil health monitoring in traditional growing regions.

    Citing the recent example of Araku Valley coffee making its presence felt in Paris with the support of industry, Sitharaman called upon the Board to “break the usual trodden path” in branding and marketing of Indian coffee. “If Araku on its own can go to Paris, Coffee Board should have pushed itself and said — I will market Coorg coffee. We should brand it,” she said. Branding ensures the market is sustained, she added.

    Noting that countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and even Myanmar have made long strides in packaging, value addition, presenting and marketing of coffee, the Commerce Minister said: “The Coffee Board obviously is now going to have to be on its toes.”

    Sitharaman further said newer areas such as Uttarakhand and Himachal are attempting to grow arabica coffee. “The new growing areas have a great deal of enthusiasm and the energy they have is fantastic,” she remarked while expressing confidence that there will be expansion in area under coffee.

    The Commerce Minister also indicated that the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana will be expanded to even small coffee growers, who have been facing the brunt of erratic rainfall pattern in recent years.

    About 98 per cent of India’s coffee holdings are less than 10 hectares and held by small growers.

    The Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI), in collaboration with the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Policy, has started creating a database on the soil health in major growing regions and rendering site specific nutrient recommendations through soil health cards.

    “The card is designed to present information on soil health indicators like pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon and micro nutrient content, among others. It will enable judicious use of fertilisers and correct nutrient deficiencies,” said Y Raghuramulu, Director, CCRI.

    Coffee flavoured stamp
    After coming out with sandalwood, rose and jasmine flavoured stamps, the Postal Department will launch a stamp that will have coffee flavour.

    Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha will be releasing the stamp in Bengaluru on Sunday that will be a collector’s version, Sitharaman said. The coffee flavoured stamp will be priced at ₹100. “There is a lot of interest in Government of India in promotion of coffee. The coffee flavoured stamp is going to induce a lot of people to taste coffee,” she added.

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Markets> Commodities / by The Hindu Bureau / April 21st, 2017

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    CoffeeKF30mar2017

    Famous for its coffee plantations, South India didn’t grow the crop naturally. Now a major producer with several hill tracts growing unique flavours of coffee, it is where the story begins… well, not exactly.

    The southern Indian state of Karnataka is strewn with coffee plantations. The state is, in fact, one of the major producers of coffee in India. ‘Arabica’ and ‘Robusta’ are the kinds of coffee that are grown here under methods which are unique to this part of the country, rather, to the world.

    The coffee here is grown under the shade of tress and is often inter-cropped with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, giving it a unique flavour and aroma.

    Interestingly, growth of coffee here is so dense that it might come across as shocking when someone tells you that it all started with the seeding of mere seven coffee beans, which were smuggled to the hills of Karnataka.

    The story that goes around in the coffee plantations down south is that an Indian saint, named Baba Budan, once went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and from there to Mocha – a port city in Yemen and a major coffee hub.

    It was here, in the 18th century, that Baba Budan first discovered coffee, when he tasted it in form of a dark and sweet liquid called Qahwa. It is said that he found the drink so refreshing that despite it being a protected Arabic beverage and industry, he sneaked out seven coffee beans by strapping them to his chest and brought them to India.

    The Baba Budan Hills in Karnataka

    The Baba Budan Hills in Karnataka

    These seven beans, Baba Budan planted in the courtyard of his home, in Chikmagalur, Karnataka – the place now synonymous to the origins of coffee in India. It is from this small patch of land that coffee began to spread over an entire hill – now called the Baba Budan hill – and then gradually to rest of Karnataka and South India.

    Coffee cultivation further boosted in India under various colonies. First, the Dutch began to grow coffee in the Malabar region of south India and then the British steered its movement all over the peninsula, where they found the conditions to be apt for the growth of the crop.

    In fact, coffee plantations in India were made commercial under the management of JH Jolly of Parry & Co, a trading company. Jolly saw the potential of coffee beans growing in the plantations of Chandragiri in Andhra Pradesh and had a petition sent to the Mysore government in the adjoining state of Karnataka, for 40 acres of land to grow coffee.

    This not just boosted the growth of coffee but, post this, the plantations flourished with their production turning into the sole business of many from the region and coffee becoming a major commercial product. Eventually, a coffee board was also set up, which took care of the marketing of Indian coffee. It is this board that we know as the Coffee Board of India, the Indian government’s body taking care of coffee commerce in India.

    Today, the coffee industry in India continues to be a flourishing one with the hill tracts of South Indian states dominating its production and the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu following Karnataka in the list of traditional coffee growing regions. Coffee routes have further elongated to non-traditional areas, including Andhra Pradesh and Odisha on the eastern coast of the country and Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh of North-Eastern India.

    The production of the crop that started on an ambiguous note has prospered into a full fledged industry, supporting the livelihood of many, especially, in the remote hilly areas of South India.

    source: http://www.mediaindia.eu / Media India Group (MIG) / Home / posted in Freestyle / by Surbhi Kapila / New Delhi – March 30th, 2017

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    StarbucksReserveKF30mar2017


    Coffee grown in the hills of Karnataka is making its way to the Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle

    Coffee is undergoing something of a transformation in India. Local beans, grown in the country, are finally making it onto store shelves, where provenance and growing techniques are emphasised. Meanwhile, a certain section of savvy consumers trawls the Internet, searching for new ways to brew their daily cuppa using a range of different home-grown beans, each of which comes packaged with tasting notes that emphasise subtle flavours.

    Meanwhile, an ocean away, India’s coffee prowess was given a different stamp of approval, when last October, Starbucks sold Indian coffee for the first time at its flagship Starbucks Reserve store in Seattle, the city in which the brand was founded. The coffee came from Tata’s Nullore estate in Kodagu, Karnataka, and was the company’s first microlot coffee. While Tata has 19 plantations in Kodagu (spread over 7,300 hectares), this was the first time that the company’s arabica beans made it to international shelves.

    Microlot coffee refers to beans that are generally the best of the estate, and are those that imbibe flavours of the terroir. Arabica is one of two types of coffee beans, and is prized for its flavour, lower caffeine content and almost twice the concentration of sugar than is found in robusta. As a result, arabica is more expensive, and harder to grow.

    Place of origin

    Walking around the Nullore plantation’s block 19 (where the beans grew), what strikes you is the sense of calm that comes with standing in the midst of a 505-acre estate.

    The microlot that was ultimately produced got its flavours from plants and trees that fruit bats propagate, while they make their homes in the silver oak trees above that provide shade to the arabica plants below. This two-tier system allows the coffee to grow under a canopy of trees, which includes jackfruit, pepper vines and fruits such as orange and lychee. On a tour of the block, Mandana, plantation manager, says, “We collected the coffee berries separately from eight hectares of this [block], where the fruit bat population is high.”

    Changing trends

    The story of the coffee though, goes beyond its growth, and rather is the story of how Tata Coffee is responding to changing customer demands, especially at the high-end, where international coffee drinkers are willing to spend between $10-30 to buy beans with unique tasting notes. Sunalini Menon, a well-known coffee cupper, who is also an independent member of the Tata Coffee board, has been instrumental in galvanising the plantation managers to experiment with microlot coffee. Chacko Thomas, the deputy CEO and executive director, says, “As a result of Nullore, we have 150 [microlot] experiments in progress.” Processing aside, the recognition has showed employees, that the beans grown in Kodagu can be cupped alongside the best in the world.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Aatish Nath / March 30th, 2017

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    As the divisions of Coffee Day – the B2C service Cafe Coffee Day, in B2B the Coffee Day Beverages, Coffee Day Exports and Coffee Beans is sold to customers

    CoffeeBizKF30mar2017

    The caffeine buzz has caught up in all cities in India closing the generation gap which once drank tea and coffee. At the BW Hotelier Indian Hospitality Awards & Summit 2017 at The Leela Ambience Hotel, Gurugram, a session on “Showcasing the Best of Indian Coffee” moderated by Bikramjit Ray, Executive Editor of BW Hotelier, the panelists spoke about the growing importance of coffee in the contemporary times.

    The session was opened by Abhrajyoti Chatterjee, from Coffee Day who mentioned how their brand intends to serve coffee with passion. Coffee Day is a brand which exports coffee to Europe, Middle East, EU and many other places. They even have 1500+ acres of area for the production of coffee.

    CoffeeBiz02KF30mar2017

    As the divisions of Coffee Day – the B2C service Cafe Coffee Day, in B2B the Coffee Day Beverages, Coffee Day Exports and Coffee Beans is sold to customers. Their brand has 41000 coffee machines in India with presence in over 1000 cities. Every year Coffee Day expands in nearly 100 cities. The machines like BMF, Indus, Sienna, Orion are the several machines which produce coffee. It also has divisions such as Coffee Day Lounges and Express Outlets in India.

    The national coffee brand has a presence in 28 states, 127 cities and 665 technicians. Their huge setup which is only a backup and then we have our various outlets across India. The variations of coffee are like morning java, classic roast, filta fresh, arabica and robusta blend.

    During the session it was discussed how the idea of coffee and tea could be interchanged in the earlier days. However, India is the fifth largest producer of coffee in the present times.

    The session covered by Vishrut Gupta, Director Food & Beverages, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity Delhi and Sanjiv Mediratta, Group Advisor, F&B Soution and New Business Strategy, Coffee Day discussed how they are bringing a new experience for millennial in coffee. The idea of an expresso was mixing coffee with chocolate powder. More people are educated about coffee at present.

    The QSR has had an impact on the purchase of coffee on people. The taste for coffee being lighter or stronger is understood by people. People liking to click more pictures with coffee is also gaining more customers for this beverage. The automatic machines also gives people the right experience of coffee.

    Innovation was always present in food; but was lesser for beverages. Whether expresso, americano or latte, the youth being more exposed to the world is aware of the global trends of coffee.

    source: http://www.businessworld.com . BW – Business World / Home / by Anisha Aditya / March 24th, 2017

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    “Boredom at work sets in soon nowadays. This is probably the reason why IT professionals opening restaurants is on the rise,“ says Ashish D’Abreo (40), on the logic driving him to pursue three diverse professions.

    ashishKF22mar2017

    “Boredom at work sets in soon nowadays. This is probably the reason why IT professionals opening restaurants is on the rise,“ says Ashish D’Abreo (40), on the logic driving him to pursue three diverse professions.

    When not building brands as a creative director of an ad agency (Origami Creatives), D’Abreo is either blending barista for his artisanal coffee startup (The Flying Squirrel) or delivering dialogues on stage as a freelance theatre artist over weekends.

    Mind you, this jack of all trades has met with enough success in each sphere. His 15-year-old ad agency has clients like Chai Point, Caratlane.com and Bluestone.com. After gaining foothold in the online space, his coffee company recently ventured into the offline market with a microroastery café.

    The avid coffee drinker has been dabbling in theatre for over a decade. This weekend too, he is performing in a play called `Park’ at Ranga Shankara. “When I was with Rafiki Theatre, I would act in 2-3 productions. Since my plate is full today , I just invest in one production at a time with Sandbox Collective,“ says D’Abreo, an MBA graduate from St Jose ph’s Colle ge of Commerce.

    Question is how did a copywriter arrive at this triangle of work in the first place? “Idea was that when we can ideate for other brands, why not our own,“ says D’Abreo, who launched his coffee startup in 2013.Little did he know that the hobby of selling gourmet coffee from his friend’s plantation in Coorg would scale up one day.

    D’Abreo traces the roots of his success in being an ad-man. “At my ad agency, we played each other’s roles all the time -be it design, layout, press visits, photoshoots or menial desk work. All streams flowed into each other seamlessly . Brainstorming sessions, where we switched from vodka to jewellery brand in a split second, coached me to juggle efficiently,“ says D’Abreo.

    Each chosen profession gets a fair share of his time every day. “My play rehearsals are usually in the morning. By midday, I start looking into the online coffee orders and the micro roastery. Post-lunch, I dedicate time to my creative agency,“ says D’Abreo, who advocates the joint venture entrepreneurship module for those who wish to add professions to their career repertoire.

    The father of a six-year-old also lists communication, support from family and time-management as requisites. Of course, travel and cooking often for family add brownie points besides working as his stress-busters.

    “One is constantly trying to wear different thinking hats. However, it’s in this challenge that your life runs like a well-oiled machine and becomes interesting. This juggle is nirvana for me,“ he notes.

    source: http://www.tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com / ET Tech / Home> Technology News> Latest Technology News> People / by Smita Balram / ET Bureau / March 22nd, 2017

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    The budget by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday presented a few goodies to Kodagu district. Though the budget has not fulfilled major expectations of the people, it has not disappointed the people as well.

    Though the budget announced formation of 49 new taluks, the people of the region have been disappointed that Kushalnagar in Somwarpet taluk and Ponnampet in Virajpet taluk haven’t made it to the list.

    As Kodagu experiences heavy rainfall, the roads get damaged often. A total of Rs 50 crore has been earmarked as a special package for the development and widening of roads. The budget has announced development of airstrip at Madikeri. As a large number of VIPs arrive in Kodagu district for relaxation and to tour, they have to come to Kodagu via the road from Mysuru airport. The development of airstrip will boost tourism in the region. A 3D mini planetarium at a cost of Rs 5.75 crore has been announced for Madikeri. The budget has also promised to set up a prison at Virajpet.

    In addition, a blood seperation unit has been sanctioned to district hospital in Madikeri, which was one of the long-pending demands of the region. Without a separation unit in Kodagu, the patients would travel to Mangaluru and Mysuru hospitals for treatment. The setting up of the unit will help the patients suffering from anaemia, said DHO Dr O R Srirangappa told DH.

    In addition, the budget has set aside fund for the modernisation of canals of Harangi Reservoir in Kushalnagar. A sum of Rs 200 crore has been set aside for the development of Jenukuruba, Koraga, Soliga, Kadukuruba, Erava community members. The budget has announced framing of special rules for appointment of tribal communities living in forests and on the periphery of forest, to the posts of guard, watcher and other ‘D’ group posts, which is a welcome move, felt tribal leaders.

    ‘Disappointing’
    The coffee planters who had availed loans from co-operative societies were expecting the chief minister to announce loan waiver. However, failure to announce loan waiver has disappointed the growers. No special package was announced to check human-elephant conflict in the region. The proposal on coffee museum and package for conserving river Cauvery has not found their place in the budget.

    What they say
    District JD(S) unit president M Sanketh Poovaiah termed the budget disappointing. There was no proposal on loan waiver. At a time when farmers have been ending their lives due to debts, the government should have announced loan waiver. No measures have been announced to arrest elephant menace in the district, he said.

    DCC president T P Ramesh said the budget has announced welfare programmes for farmers, women and deprived class. Special emphasis has been given for the welfare of women. In addition, the honorarium for Asha workers have been hiked.

    Stating that the budget is anti-farmer, district BJP unit president B B Bharathish said the state government should have announced loan waiver. “Though we were demanding an airport, the government has announced only a airstrip to Madikeri, which will benefit only the rich,” he said.

    MLC Sunil Subramani said no special package was announced for the district. The burning issues in Kodagu did not find any place in the budget. He said the budget is disappointing.

    Avinash, a software engineer in Madikeri, said there is a recognition at the national-level for coffee from Coorg. However, the demand for a coffee museum in Madikeri has not been materialised so far.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Aditya K A / DHNS- Madikeri, March 17th, 2017

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    Sunalini Menon started out as an assistant cup taster for the Coffee Board of India in 1971

    Sunalini Menon started out as an assistant cup taster for the Coffee Board of India in 1971

    The journey of Asia’s first female coffee expert, Sunalini Menon, is one of beating the odds while consuming copious amounts of coffee, says Phorum Dalal

    “But she is a woman, and will be married off soon,” a panel argued.

    The year was 1971, and the dilemma was whether to give the candidate a job of an assistant cup taster on the Coffee Board of India.

    She had topped the written examination and oral tests, competing with PhDs and coffee experts, but the hesitation was due to her gender.

    The person in question was Sunalini Menon, who spent the next 25 years, sipping, slurping and spitting coffee, identifying flavour notes, and determining the quality of the drink for coffee growers in India.

    “The slurping is to expose the sip to oxygen and open its flavours, and spitting is to avoid consuming so much coffee,” the tiny figured lady explains with a broad smile when we meet her in Coorg.

    Her melodious voice has us in rapt attention, as she excitedly spoke of Block no. 19, Tata Coffee’s micro lot from the Nullore estate, selected last year by Starbucks for sale under the Reserve Brand in USA.

    Menon, who consults several traditional coffee growers, has carved a niche for herself. She closely worked on the micro lot (cream of the crop with artisanal properties, usually sold in small quantities for a higher price) that put Indian coffee on the global map.

    The seed was sown in childhood. “In the summers, we would go to Polachi in Coimbatore and visit the tea plantation my uncle was posted at. Labourers picked tea and put it through steaming, drying and rolling processes. During tastings, the tea master would use a penny to weigh the tea. Tasters would slurp, sip and spit out the liquid,” says Menon.

    Imitating them, the kids would take the leftover tea “gargle and make horrendous noises,” laughs Menon.

    After a degree in dietetics, while applying for scholarships in New York Institute of Dietetics, Menon saw Coffee Board of India’s job ad for an assistant cup taster, and “memories of sipping, slurping and spitting came flooding back.” As no woman had ever held the post, she was sure she wouldn’t make it, but soon she completed the board’s two-member team.

    The board sent her to Witnerthone near Zurich for a year-long intensive course in coffee tasting in 1976, followed by a six-month review training in 1982.

    “My hosts exposed me to a lot of international coffees from Peru and Costa Rica, and also sent me to Germany. This was an eye opener, and palate too, because at the time, India didn’t have such exotic coffees. I learnt to identify characters and use my palate to decipher coffee”. When she returned, her boss had retired and she took over to become India’s first cup taster.

    Friends and family would tease her, “Your job is to take coffee breaks. What fun’.

    The sensorial method, though, involved a lot: focusing on fragrance, aroma, flavour, aftertaste, acidity, mouthful, sweetness, balance, uniformity, overall taste and cleanliness of the cup to determine the coffee’s quality.

    “One that secures 80 or above is considered a speciality coffee,” explains Menon, adding that the science and chemistry behind the cup can also be evaluated individually to provide accurate results. “But so far, a holistic scientific value hasn’t been arrived at to conclude on the cup rating. Till it does, I guess we tasters will have a job,” says Menon.

    After the market liberalised in 1996 and growers could sell their own coffee, the board shifted focus to research and training. Menon moved to Japan, where her husband was posted, but coffee growers coaxed her to return and continue independent quality checks and research on their plantation.

    “Coffee has come a long way in India, primarily a tea growing country. The British introduced the coffee plant from Ethiopia. A drink for the elderly and usually consumed at home, it didn’t have a special aura. But the vision of grandmothers using the dabba filter to brew their cup has become a fad after Café Coffee Day (CCD) launched in Bengaluru in 1996,” recalls Menon.

    That’s why, Block No 19 is special. Indian coffee being selected for a limited edition sale by an international company will encourage more plantations to work on micro lots. This milestone has opened a door to make artisanal Indian coffee a stand out,” says the woman who has paved way for women tasters in India. As for her poison, it’s “a blend of robusta and Arabica beans. Black please,” she signs off.

    source: http://www.dnaindia.com / DNA India / Home> Lifestyle / DNA Sunday Team / Sunday – March 05th, 2017

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    CoffeeBeansKF28feb2017

    Not only do they handle business in acres, but also take utmost care to manage the crop sustainably. Care T Acres, a private initiative begun in 1998, has been helping coffee planters in Kodagu manage their properties. This initiative has become a boon to many planters who are unable to look after their estate.

    “Care T Acres has stopped planters from selling their property and moving away from Kodagu,” says Nanjappa Kuttaiah, a coffee grower. With eight partners — Bose Mandanna, N K Chinnappa, N P Machaya, K M Cariappa, K Ajit Appachu, Aruna Biddappa, B Ram Bopaiah and K M Appaiah — the team comprises competitive planters with a combined experience of over 300 years!

    The beginnings
    Kodagu, the coffee haven that contributes to over 40% of India’s coffee production, has a lot of estate owners staying overseas. While selling the property has sentimental issues, maintaining them from overseas is illogical. This is where Care T Acres steps in, with the role of prime mover being Managing Director, N K Chinnappa. So, how did ‘Care T Acres’ come into existence? Among the founding members, Late Arun Bidappa was a well-known coffee trader. However, he needed expertise in maintaining his estate, which he developed with the help of expert planter Bose Mandanna.

    Arun’s estate was the first property that received tendering from ‘Care T Acres’. “He (Arun Bidappa) said, ‘I help you trade your coffee, why don’t you help me look after my estate?’” recalls Bose. This conversation got the best planter friends together and thus began ‘Care T Acres’ with a maxim that “no one should neglect or sell their estate in Kodagu,” as Bose states.

    The initiative is currently managing 600 acres, all under the constant supervision of Chinnappa — who grooms them like brides-to-be. The bottle green coffee plants nurtured by him are shaped like woven skirts. “Chinnappa’s way of raising and nurturing estates is a win-win proposition,” notes Nanjappa.

    Professional care & support
    The service (for estates that are more than 30 acres) begins with the client signing a five-year contract. Once done, the company starts looking after the ailing estates and fosters them like their own. When a grower approaches them, the team members visit the estate and analyse it. Then, the operations required to revive the estate are prioritised and the ‘surgery’ begins. “The person who can take care of his estate very well will not come to us. It is always the owner unable to manage his property who comes to us. In many cases, the grower would be suffering financial loss. So, the foremost ‘operation’ would be to clear the debt,” explains Chinnappa.

    The team acts not just like a doctor but also that of an antibiotic as the second step towards betterment would be to develop proper infrastructure. Drying yards, labour line, proper cut roads, pulping yard and irrigation facility are developed to make the estates sustainable and self-reliant. Simultaneously, the grooming session begins — coffee plants are pruned, nourished, irrigated and shades are regulated to produce better yield.

    With constant efforts, the estate breathes a new life. While they work for remuneration in the first two years, they sign up for a 30% profit from the third year. “I might be getting 70% of the profit, but that is equal to 150% of what I was earning before. Also, you get the profit without having the headache of managing it,” opines Nanjappa.

    Another grower, Dalia Chengapa, has her estate being cared for by the company since 2007. She recalls how the estate owned by her father, Late A T Chengapa, lost its focus after he fell ill. “My father was a wonderful planter and he looked after the estate properly. But after his health deteriorated, the estate needed support. My sister Ramona and I stayed in different cities, and we did not have the practical knowledge for growing coffee. My father was unable to guide us as he was unwell. That is when we approached ‘Care T Acres’,” she recalls. While her estate incurred loss before the team took over, it is now making good profit.

    Nanjappa’s story goes on the same lines. His mother passed on and the 45- acre estate in Suntikoppa that she looked after relied on him for tending. He had known that ‘Care T Acres’ turned the estates around and yearned for their support; eventually the deal was sealed. “Eight competitive planters, financially trustworthy and among the best planters in the district took over my estate and it was a blessing at the right time,” he says. Chinnappa started the work here and looked at two primary problems. Firstly, he pruned the coffee plants in a better way — there were more branches and nodes earlier, which reduced the picking cost. “When pruning is done properly, the plant flows down and it becomes easy to pick berries. The yield also increases,” explains Chinnappa. Secondly, the roads were laid for convenient movement.

    The estates cared for by the team improve their pepper yield as well. With a systematic auction and tendering system in place, planters get an optimal price for pepper. The team has taken up risks as challenges and revived many estates. However, Mandanna explains, “While we have gone beyond limits and put money from our pockets to revive the estates, there are instances where we have rejected a few. These estates are uncultivable and there would be no absolute hope for coffee.” Chinnappa adds, “It is not just about profits but it is about leaving a legacy behind.”

    One can contact the team at rkpagastya@gmail.com.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Prajna GR / November 22nd, 2016

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