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Nagaland coffee gets positive review from SA experts

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:39 am
Dr. Pieter Vermeulen, left, and Neiba Kronu during an interaction with media persons on Wednesday in Kohima.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, March 5 (EMN):
According to a coffee connoisseur, coffee from Nagaland has a ‘unique taste’ and if produced on a large scale, it has the potential to ‘achieve sustainable income for years as well as shape country’s economy.’

Nagaland coffee is grown in the jungles and absorbs a natural environment of forest filled with wild berries, rich soil, and trees, making the coffee flavour unique, said Dr. Pieter Vermeulen, a coffee expert from South Africa and founder of Naga Coffee Private Limited.

Interacting with media persons on Wednesday in Kohima, he said Nagaland coffee is coming in at the right time when production worldwide is decreasing. Due to Climate Change, a lot of coffee producing countries have opted for alternative plantations instead of coffee. Nonetheless, the demand for crop worldwide is “very high,” particularly in the European and Arab countries, Vermeulen said.

He urged farmers of the state to seriously take up coffee plantation as it will give a sustainable income from the next few years of their planting. Further, growing coffee will produce work for other people thereby creating employment opportunities. He called upon the educated unemployed youths to start coffee enterprises.

Unlike other perishable products from Nagaland, the lifespan of coffee is very long, he said. A raw coffee can be kept up to a year while the processed coffee can last for two years. As for the coffee, he said to have established infrastructure and had exported them as well. In fact, his company can process 20 tonnes of coffee per week. As a company, he said to be ready to receive coffee. 

The only challenge is that there is not enough coffee in the state and the company needs more. Therefore, he encouraged people to start planting quality coffee. 

Speaking on customers’ point of view, the coffee connoisseur said people look for specific things when buying coffee. Being organic and being sustainable and unique are some of the key qualities buyers look forward to. According to him, all these qualities are found in Nagaland coffee. 

Unlike in South America where people cut forests to plant coffee, farmers in Nagaland preserve forest and plant coffee, which is sustainable and nature-friendly, he said. Concerning the variety of coffee in the state, he said each region has a different taste because of the climate differences.

Earlier, the minister for Planning and Coordination, Land Revenue, and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu said Nagaland can produce “speciality grade coffee” and had encouraged people of Nagaland to grow coffee.

In the past, there were no experiments and farmers were asked to grow randomly, which at times discouraged farmers. However, the situation is different now; things are being experimented and studied, he added.

The Land Resource department of Nagaland in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India has assisted farmers to develop around 1816.2 hectares during 2019-20 in the state. Presently, the area that has coffee plantation stands at 7996.2 hectares covering eleven districts of Nagaland.

The Naga Coffee Private Limited, with its holding company Noble Cause Private Limited based in South Africa, was started in 2016. It has a standing Memorandum of Understanding with the Land Resources department of Nagaland to processes and export coffee to the global market for 30 years.

 According to the department 27.5 metric tonnes of raw coffee beans were exported till 2019, while 18 metric tonnes of roasted coffee have been exported so far.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:39:30 am