Somatirtha Purohit

Plantation of coffee is transforming the lives of farmers in Koraput. The district is mostly populated with tribals and considered as one of the most backward areas in India. The region, located in the Eastern Ghats, is ideal for coffee plantation due to its cool climate.

Necessary support of the State government has brought smiles to the faces of the tribal farmers with ‘Koraput Coffee’ emerging as a brand. The aroma of Koraput Coffee hit the international market with considerable demand for its unique blend, consisting of cent percent Arabica coffee.

The Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL) & the Koraput Agro Product Producer Company Limited jointly procure around 60 metric tonne coffee from the producers. 

According to sources, the coffee plantation was started by than king of Koraput, Rajbahadur Rama Chandra Deo in the 1930s. Later the State soil conservation department undertook coffee plantation in 1958.

“The plantation requires 3 months of care, once ripen we pluck it and let it dry. Later it is sent for further processing,” said a plantation worker.

By next year, the State government has set a target to produce 150 metric tonne of coffee, and it plans to establish plantation in 1,000 hectares. The area of cultivation is slated to go up by and 5,000 hectares in next three years. “We are buying raw coffee at Rs 35 per kilogram from the farmers and transferring the money to their bank accounts through NEFT,” said Surendra Ch. Mallik, a TDCCOL official.

Around 31 metric tons of coffee have been sent to Karnataka. The district administration is carrying out activities to promote Koraput Coffee. In the current year, around 28,790 coffee cherries have been procured from 193 farmers.

“Nature is playing a vital role in the production of coffee. The cool weather and rainfall are making the soil rich in minerals which are helping us in whatever we grows here,” said Sushant Panda, a coffee producer.

Earlier, Brazilian coffee was world famous, but in course of time it lost its taste and smell. To fulfill the demand of coffee in international market coffee manufacturing brands of USA and Italy are turning their eyes towards Koraput Coffee, he said.