Coffee Board identifies 2 lakh acres of land to expand coffee cultivation

Visitors going round the stalls at the 5th World Coffee Conference 2023 in Bengaluru.
| Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The Coffee Board of India is in the process of facilitating the expansion of coffee cultivation beyond the southern parts of the country.

The board, with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation, has identified and satellite mapped over 2 lakh acres of tribal occupied land in the fringes of forests in the northeastern states, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, said K.G. Jagadeesha, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board here on Thursday (Sept 28).

Karnataka single-handedly produced over 70% of India’s coffee, while most of the rest was farmed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Prasad. “The south region has not much scope left to increase areas under coffee production. However, in terms of shade-grown coffee with high quality and speciality will still be in the southern parts,’‘ he added.

According to Dr. Jagadeesha, the Coffee Board has asked tribal and other farmers in the North Eastern region, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, to ready the land by planting the right kind of shade trees to create the right ecosystem better suitable for coffee farming. “We expect these new farms to be ready and start harvesting within the next 10 years,’‘ he added.

Addressing a media conference at the conclusion of the 5th World Coffee Conference here at Bangalore Palace, he said the main objective of this four-day world coffee exposition was to discuss challenges faced by the global coffee industry, mostly the farming community and find long-term solutions to their problems throughout the value chain from bean to cup.

Coffee collaboration

Some 347 formal business-to-business meetings were held in the last four days between September 25 and 28, while over 1,500 informal and non-scheduled such meetings have taken place at WCC 2023.

“A lot of fruitful discussions have happened at WCC 2023. Hundreds of business leads have been created, and many of these will result in business collaborations that will last over 30 to 40 years,’‘ elaborated Dr. Jagadeesha, adding, “Coffee was a long-lasting engagement. Domestic and as well as international coffee players have had a lot of fruitful discussions, and they have shared incredible responses with us.’‘

Overall, 2,600 delegates, including 323 international delegates, participated in the conference. It also saw 12,522 business visitors and a large number of individual visitors.

India on global coffee map

By hosting the World Coffee Conference, India is now well placed in the global coffee market, as the International Coffee Organization and the rest of the coffee world recognise the country’s unique contribution as a key producer of the world’s best coffees.

“We have now arrived on the Global Map. Our presence is felt very strongly in the world markets. Our WCC connection will further increase India’s image as a producer of some of the finest coffees and a lead player in the vibrant coffee sector,’‘ the Coffee Board CEO stated.

Better premiums

In 2000, Indian coffee fetched 10 to 15% less than what was the prevailing market prices in London and New York coffee exchanges. However, today, Indian coffees are able to command a 15 to 20% premium on prevailing market prices.

“Nobody gets more premium than Indian coffees except Colombian coffees. Now, if we truly join a global colleague league, we will be able to ask for even better pricing because our coffees will have better standing and branding in global markets,’‘ he anticipated.

India never got its due recognition for growing such sustainable and high-quality coffees. Therefore, WCC is definitely going to open doors in that respect that India is a country that grows the world’s finest coffees in a more sustainable manner, as per Dr. Jagadeesha.

Learning from global experts

Hundreds of young working baristas, aspirants and cafe entrepreneurs have benefited from training courses, skill-building workshops and demos conducted by 24 global experts at WCC.

“If our baristas have to pick talent and best practices from global experts from leading coffee-consuming geographies, they have to spend around $3.5 lakh, including their airfare. The same training they received at a token fee of ₹3,000 at WCC,’‘ he elaborated.