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Koraput: To promote 'Koraput Coffee' in national and international market, a mini-coffee curing unit was inaugurated here, officials said on Thursday.

The district administrations coffee development trust with financial assistance from the tribal development cooperative corporation (TDCC) and technical assistance from the Coffee Board has formed the brand 'Koraput Coffee'.

The effort will ensure that the coffee growers in the tribal-dominated Koraput district gets a fair price for their produce

Officials said coffee beans will be procured from the tribal and non-tribal growers of the district and other parts of the state and the whole coffee will be cured in the mini-curing unit which was inaugurated here on Wednesday.

"Roasting, grinding, packaging and branding of the coffee beans will be done by the administration in collaboration with the TDCC," said Koraput Collector Madhusudan Mishra.

He said steps will be taken to establish specially designed coffee brewing outlets at the prominent towns of the state in the brand name of Koraput Coffee.

The collector said sincere efforts will be done to earn national and international recognition to Koraput Coffee through its brewing units.

Senior liaison officer of the Coffee Board, Koraput Ajit Kumar Rout said, "The taste of Koraput coffee is not less than any national or international coffee brand. Also, high quality machinery has been established for its processing."

Officials are hopeful that establishment of the curing unit will enhance the economy of both tribal and non-tribal farmers as they will get fair prices for their produce.

Presently, the coffee growers are forced to sale their produce at a fairly low price as uncured coffee to middlemen.

who subsequently, transport the uncured coffee to states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Once the curing unit is established the farmers will be paid Rs 150 per kg of coffee, which is much more than what they are presently getting, said Bhabani Shankar Kalo, deputy director coffee development, Koraput.

"In the first year, it has been decided to procure at least 100 metric tonne of coffee from the farmers. In subsequent years it will increase," he added.

According to a departmental survey, it was found that at least 1, 45,170 hectare of land in the district is suitable for coffee plantation but presently, only 1,467 hectare of land is under coffee plantation in Koraput.

"As climatic condition of the district is conducive for coffee plantation establishment of the curing unit will motivate more farmers to undertake coffee cultivation. The life span of a coffee plant is around 60 years and it gives fruit with minimum maintenance," said Rout.

The coffee plantation was first introduced in Koraput by erstwhile Maharaja of Jeypore in 1930. However, after abolition of Jeypore Zamindari in 1951, the state government through soil conservation department undertook coffee plantation as a measure to prevent siltation in Machkund basin of the district in 1958.

Farmers have welcomed the administrations move to promote Koraput coffee. As farmers in Araku of Andhra Pradesh get maximum benefits from coffee plantation, now this effort of the state government has created new hope for the Koraput farmers, said Kesab Majhi, a tribal farmer.

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