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Coffee forests in India
Coffee plantation in India
Coffee production in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Coffee production in India is dominated in the hill tracts of South Indian states, with the
state of Karnataka accounting 53% followed by Kerala 28% and Tamil Nadu 11% of
production of 8,200 tonnes. Indian coffee is said to be the finest coffee grown in the shade
rather than direct sunlight anywhere in the world.
[1]
There are approximately 250,000
coffee growers in India; 98% of them are small growers.
[2]
As of 2009, the production of
coffee in India was only 4.5% of the total production in the world. Almost 80% of the
country's coffee production is exported.
[3]
Of that which is exported, 70% is bound for
Germany, Russian federation, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, United States, Japan, Greece,
Netherlands and France, and Italy accounts for 29% of the exports. Most of the export is
shipped through the Suez Canal.
[1]
Coffee is grown in three regions of India with Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu forming
the traditional coffee growing region of South India, followed by the new areas developed
in the non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in the eastern coast of the
country and with a third region comprising the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya,
Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh of Northeastern India, popularly
known as Seven Sister States of India".
[4]
Indian coffee, grown mostly in southern India under monsoon rainfall conditions, is also
termed as Indian monsooned coffee". Its flavour is defined as: "The best Indian coffee
reaches the flavour characteristics of Pacific coffees, but at its worst it is simply bland and
uninspiring.
[5]
The two well known species of coffee grown are the Arabica and Robusta.
The first variety that was introduced in the Baba Budan Giri hill ranges of Karnataka in the
17th century
[6]
was marketed over the years under the brand names of Kent and S.795.
Contents
1 History
2 Production
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Unripe Coffee Pods in Araku Valley,
Andhra Pradesh
2.1 Background
2.2 Growing conditions
2.3 Processing
3 Varieties
4 Research and development
4.1 Regional research stations
5 Popularity
6 Coffee Board of India
7 See also
8 References
9 External links
History
Coffee growing has a long history that is attributed first to Ethiopia and then to Arabia, mostly to
Yemen. However, the earliest history is traced to 875 AD according to the Bibliotheque Nationale in
Paris. The original source is also traced to Abyssinia from where it was brought to Arabia in the 15th
century. The Indian context started with an Indian Muslim saint, Baba Budan,
[2][7]
while on a
pilgrimage to Mecca, smuggled seven coffee beans (by tying it around his waist) from Yemen to
Mysore in India and planted them on the Chandragiri Hills (1,829 metres (6,001 ft)), now named after
the saint as Baba Budan Giri (Giri means hill) in Chikkamagaluru district. It was considered an
illegal act to take out green coffee seed out of Arabia. As number seven is a sacrosanct number in
Islamic religion, the saints act of carrying seven coffee beans was considered a religious act.
[6]
This
was the beginning of coffee industry in India, and in particular, in the then state of Mysore, now part of
the Karnataka State. This was an achievement of considerable bravery of Baba Budan considering the
fact that Arabs had exercised strict control over its export to other countries by not permitting coffee
beans to be exported in any form other than as in a roasted or boiled form to prevent germination.
[8]
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Coffee Plantation in Araku, Andhra
Pradesh
Systematic cultivation soon followed Baba Budans first planting of the seeds, in 1670, mostly by private owners and the first plantation was
established in 1840 around Baba Budan Giri and its surrounding hills in Karnataka. It spread to other areas of Wynad (now part of Kerala), the
Shevaroys and Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. With British colonial presence taking strong roots in India in the mid 19th century, coffee plantations
flourished for export. The culture of coffee thus spread to South India rapidly.
Initially, Arabica was popular. However, as result of serious infestation caused to this species by coffee
rust, an alternative robust species of coffee, appropriately named as robusta and another hybrid between
liberica and Arabica, a rust-tolerant hybrid variety of Arabica tree became popular. This is the most
common variety of coffee that is grown in the country with Karnataka alone accounting for 70% of
production of this variety.
[7][8]
In 1942, the government decided to regulate the export of coffee and protect the small and marginal
farmers by passing the Coffee VII Act of 1942, under which the Coffee Board of India got established,
operated by the Ministry of Commerceand Industry.
[2]
The government dramatically increased their
control of coffee exports in India and pooled the coffees of its growers. In doing so, they reduced the
incentives for farmers to produce high-quality coffee, so quality became stagnant.
[2]
Over the last 50 years, coffee production in India has grown by over 15 percent.
[9]
From 1991, economic liberalisation took place in India, and
the industry took full advantage of this and cheaper labour costs of production.
[10]
In 1993, a monumental Internal Sales Quota (ISQ) made the
first step in liberalising the coffee industry by entitling coffee farmers to sell 30% of their production within India.
[2]
This was further amended
in 1994 when the Free Sale Quota (FSQ) permitted large and small scale growers to sell between 70% and 100% of their coffee either
domestically or internationally.
[2]
A final amendment in September 1996 saw the liberalisation of coffee for all growers in the country and a
freedom to sell their produce wherever they wished.
[2]
Production
Background
Like in Ceylon, coffee production in India declined rapidly from the 1870s and was massively outgrown by the emerging tea industry. The
devastating coffee rust affected the output of coffee to the point that the costs of production saw coffee plantations in many parts replaced with
tea plantations.
[11]
However, the coffee industry was not as affected by this disease as in Ceylon, and although overshadowed in scale by the
tea industry, India was still one of the strongholds of coffee production in the British Empire along with British Guiana. In the period 191012,
the area under coffee plantation was reported to be 203,134 acres (82,205 ha) in the southern states, and was mostly exported to England.
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The main coffee producing states of
India
Karnataka coffee beans
In the 1940s, Indian filter coffee, a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%80%) and chicory (20%30%) became a
commercial success. It was especially popular in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The most
commonly used coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta grown in the hills of Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan), Kerala
(Malabar region) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District, Yercaud and Kodaikanal).
Coffee production in India grew rapidly in the 1970s, increasing from 68,948 tonnes in 197172 to 120,000 tonnes in 197980 and grew by
4.6 percent in the 1980s.
[12]
It grew by more than 30 percent in the 1990s, rivalled only by Uganda in
the growth of production.
[13][14]
By 2007, organic coffee was grown in about 2,600 hectares (6,400
acres) with an estimated production of about 1700 tonnes.
[15]
According to the 2008 statistics published
by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the area of coffee green harvested in India was
342,000 hectares (850,000 acres),
[16]
with yield estimates of 7,660 hectogram/ha,
[17]
forming a total
production estimate of 262,000 tonnes.
[18]
There are approximately 250,000 coffee growers in India; 98% of them are small growers.
[2]
Over 90
percent of them are small farms consisting of 10 acres (4.0 ha) or fewer. According to published
statistics for 20012002, the total area under coffee in India was 346,995 hectares (857,440 acres) with
small holdings of 175,475 accounting for 71.2%. The area under large holding of more than 100
hectares (250 acres) was 31,571 hectares (78,010 acres) (only 9.1% of all holdings) only under 167
holdings. The area under less than 2 hectares (4.9 acres) holdings was 114,546 hectares (283,050 acres)
(33% of the total area) among 138,209 holders.
[2]
Size of holdings Numbers (20012002) Area of holding
Less than 10 ha 10 hectares (25 acres) 175,475 247,087 hectares (610,570 acres)
Between 10 and 100 ha and above 2833 99,908 hectares (246,880 acres)
Total 178,308 346,995 hectares (857,440 acres)
The most important areas of production are in the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, and
Tamil Nadu which accounted for over 92 percent of India's coffee production in the 20052006
growing season. In this same season, India exported over 440,000 pounds (200,000 kg) of coffee, with
over 25 percent destined for Italy. Traditionally, India has been a noted producer of Arabica coffee but
in the last decade robusta beans are growing substantially due to high yields, which now account for
over 60 percent of coffee produced in India. The domestic consumption of coffee increased from
50,000 tonnes in 1995 to 94,400 tonnes in 2008.
[19]
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Coffee flower
According to the statistics provided by the Coffee Board of India, the estimated production of Robusta and Arabica coffee for the "Post
Monsoon Estimation 200910" and "Post Blossom Estimation 201011" in different states accounted for a total of 308,000 tonnes and 289,600
tonnes, respectively.
[20]
As of 2010, between 70% and 80% of Indian grown coffee is exported overseas.
[9][21]
Growing conditions
All coffees grown in India are grown in shade and commonly with two tiers of shade. Often inter-cropped with spices such as cardamom,
cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, the coffees gain aromatics from the inter-cropping, storage, and handling functions.
[22]
Growing altitudes range
between 1,000 m (3,300 ft) to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level for Arabica (premier coffee), and 500 m (1,600 ft) to 1,000 m (3,300 ft) for
Robusta (though of lower quality, it is robust to environment conditions).
[2][15]
Ideally, both Arabica and Robusta are planted in well drained
soil conditions that favour rich organic matter that is slightly acidic (pH 6.06.5).
[15]
However, India's coffees tend to be moderately acidic
which can lead to either a balanced and sweet taste, or a listless and inert one.
[22]
Slopes of Arabica tend to be gentle to moderate, while
Robusta slopes are gentle to fairly level.
[15]
Blooming and maturing
Blooming is the time when coffee plants bloom with white flowers which last for about 34 days
(termed "evanescent" period) before they mature into seeds. When coffee plantations are in full bloom
it is a delightful sight to watch. The time period between blooming and maturing of the fruit varies
appreciably with the variety and the climate; for the Arabica, it is about seven months, and for the
Robusta, about nine months. The fruit is gathered by hand when it is fully ripe and red-purple in
colour.
[23][24][25]
Climatic conditions
Ideal climatic conditions to grow coffee are related to temperature and rainfall; temperatures in the
range of 73 F (23 C) and 82 F (28 C) with rainfall incidence in the range of 6080 inches (1.5
2.0 m) followed by a dry spell of 23 months suit the Arabica variety. Cold temperatures closer to
freezing conditions are not suitable to grow coffee. Where the rainfall is less than 40 inches (1.0 m), providing irrigation facilities is essential.
In the tropical region of the south Indian hills, these conditions prevail leading to coffee plantations flourishing in large numbers.
[26]
Relative
humidity for Arabica ranges 7080% while for Robusta it ranges 8090%.
[15]
Coffee diseases
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Irrigated coffee plantation
Cobras on an Indian coffee plantation
Coffee on hills of Cauvery River in
Coorg
The common disease to which the coffee plants are subjected to in India is on account of fungus growth. This fungus is called the Hemileia
vastatrix, an endophytous that grows within the matter of the leaf; effective cure has not been discovered to eliminate this. The second type of
disease is known as the coffee rot, which has caused severe damages during the rainy season, particularly to plantations in Karnataka.
Pellicularia kole-rota is the name given to this rot or rust, which turns the leaves into black colour due to the coverage by a slimy gelatinous
film. This causes the coffee leaves and the cluster of coffee berries to drop off to the ground.
[7]
Snakes such as cobras can also cause a
nuisance to coffee plantations in India.
Processing
Processing of coffee in India is accomplished using two
methods, dry processing and wet processing. Dry processing is
the traditional method of drying in the sun which is favoured for
its flavour producing characteristics. In the wet processing
method, coffee beans are fomented and washed, which is the
preferred method for improved yields. As to the wet processing,
the beans are subject to cleaning to segregate defective seeds.
The beans of different varieties and sizes are then blended to
derive the best flavour. The next procedure is to roast either
through roasters or individual roasters. Then the roasted coffee is ground to appropriate sizes.
[1]
Varieties
The four main botanical cultivars of India's coffee include Kent, S.795, Cauvery, and Selection 9. In the
1920s, the earliest variety of Arabica grown in India was named Kent(s)
[15]
after the Englishman L.P.
Kent, a planter of the Doddengudda Estate in Mysore.
[27]
Probably the most commonly planted Arabica
in India and Southeast Asia is S.795,
[28]
known for its balanced cup and subtle flavour notes of mocca.
Released during the 1940s, it is a cross between the Kents and S.288 varieties.
[28]
Cauvery, commonly
known as Catimor, is a derivative of a cross between Caturra with Hybrido-de-Timor, while the award-
winning Selection 9 is a derivative from the crossing between Tafarikela and Hybrido-de-Timor.
[15]
The dwarf and semi-dwarf hybrids of San Ramon and Caturra were developed to meet the demands for
high density plantings.
[29]
The Devamachy hybrid (C. arabica and C. canephora) was first discovered
around 1930 in India.
[30]
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Workers in Kerala
The Indian Coffee Association's weekly auction includes such varieties as Arabica Cherry, Robusta Cherry, Arabica Plantation, and Robusta
Parchment.
[31]
Regional logos and brands include: Anamalais, Araku valley, Bababudangiris, Biligiris, Brahmaputra, Chikmagalur, Coorg, Manjarabad,
Nilgiris, Pulneys, Sheveroys, Travancore, and Wayanad. There are also several specialty brands such as Monsooned Malabar AA, Mysore
Nuggets Extra Bold, and Robusta Kaapi Royale.
[15]
Organic coffee
Organic coffee is produced without synthetic agro-chemicals and plant protection methods. A
certification is essential by the accrediting agency for such coffee to market it (popular forms are of
regular, decaffeinated, flavoured and instant coffee variety) as such since they are popular in Europe,
United States and Japan. The Indian terrain and climatic conditions provide the advantages required for
the growth of such coffee in deep and fertile forest soils under the two tier mixed shade using cattle
manure, composting and manual weeding coupled with the horticultural operations practised in its
various coffee plantations; small holdings is another advantage for such a variety of coffee. In spite of
all these advantages, the certified organic coffee holdings in India, as of 2008, (there are 20 accredited
certification agencies in India) was only in an area of 2,600 hectares (6,400 acres) with production
estimated at 1700 tonnes. In order to promote growth of such coffee, the Coffee Board, based on field experiments, surveys and case studies
has evolved many packages for adoption, supplemented with information guidelines and technical documents.
[4]
Research and development
Coffee research and development efforts are well organised in India through its Coffee Research Institute, which is considered the premier
research station in South East Asia. It is under the control of the Coffee Board of India, an autonomous body, under the Ministry of Commerce
and Industry, Government of India, which was set up under an Act of the Parliament with the objective of promoting research, development,
extension, quality up gradation, market information, and the domestic and external promotion of Indian coffee.
[32]
It was established near
Balehonnur in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, in the heartland of coffee plantations. Prior to establishing this institute, a temporary
research unit was established in 1915 at Koppa primarily to evolve solutions to crop infestation by leaf diseases. This was followed by the field
research station established by the then Government of Mysore, titled "Mysore Coffee Experimental Station," in 1925. This was handed over
to the Coffee Board which was formed in 1942, and regular research started at this station from 1944. Dr L. C. Coleman is credited as the
founder of coffee research in India.
[33]
The Coffee Board of India is an autonomous body, functioning under the Ministry of Commerce and
Industry, Government of India. The Board serves as a friend, philosopher and guide of the coffee industry in India. Set up under an Act of the
Parliament of India in the year 1942, the Board focuses on research, development, extension, quality up gradation, market information, and the
domestic and external promotion of Indian coffee.
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Chikmagalur district, the
headquarters of the Coffee Board
of India, shown within the state of
Karnataka
The research activities covered by the Institute constitute research in seven disciplines such as Agronomy,
Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Botany, Entomology/Nematology, Plant Physiology,
Biotechnology and Post Harvest Technology with the basic aim of increasing productivity and quality of
coffee grown in India. The institute has 60 scientific and technical personnel involved in research
activities. The institute has a well established farm land of 130.94 hectares (323.6 acres) for carrying out
crop research, out of which 80.26 hectares (198.3 acres) are dedicated to coffee research (51.32 hectares
(126.8 acres) of arabica and 28.94 hectares (71.5 acres) of robusta), 10 hectares (25 acres) are used for
growing CXR, 12.38 hectares (30.6 acres) are apportioned for nurseries, roads and buildings, and the
balance area of 12.38 hectares (30.6 acres) is a reserve area for future expansion. The research farm has a
well established network of check dams that provides a regulated water source to the plantations which
offer a wide range of shade tree species under which coffee is grown, and germplasm and exotic material
from all the coffee growing countries including Ethiopia which is known as the home land of Arabica. In
addition, crop diversification with crops such as pepper and areca are also part of income generating
programmes of the institute.
[33]
Part of the institute includes a research laboratory to carry out research in identified disciplines, as well as
a stocked library with books and periodicals, not only on coffee but also on other crops. Training of
personnel is an important activity of the institute. The training unit of the institute conducts regular
training programs for estate managers and supervisory personnel of the coffee plantations and also for the
extension officers of the Coffee Board. Recognised by UNDP and USDA, the training unit of the institute
is providing training to foreign nationals on coffee cultivation in which personnel from Ethiopia, Vietnam,
Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Nestle Singapore have been trained.
[33]
In addition, a Plant Tissue Culture & Biotechnology division, established in Mysore, is carrying out exclusive research in bio-technology and
molecular biology to supplement/complement the conventional breeding programs in developing high yielding, pest and disease resistant
varieties. The Coffee Board of India maintains a Quality Control Division in its head office in Bangalore which plays an active role in
collaborating with other research disciplines in upgrading the quality of coffee in the cup.
[33]
Regional research stations
To cover research specific to each coffee growing region covering different agro-climatic conditions, the following five research stations are
fully functional under the overall control of the Central Coffee Research Institute.
[33][34]
Coffee Research Sub-station (CRSS), Chettalli in Coorg district of Karnataka, was established in 1946. The sub-station has a well
equipped laboratory and covers an area of 131 hectares (320 acres) out of which 80 hectares (200 acres) is exclusive to coffee research
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activities.
[34]
Regional Coffee Research Station (RCRS), R.V. Nagar in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh also covers the Orissa on the
eastern coast. The research station, established in 1976 to cater to the development of coffee in non-traditional areas has an area of 30
hectares (74 acres) under coffee plantation. The objective of introducing coffee in this area was to wean away the tribal population from
growing crops under the 'Podu' cultivation (shifting cultivation) in the forest areas, not only to preserve the forest ecology but also to
improve the economic condition of the tribal people of the region.
[34]
Regional Coffee Research Station (RCRS), Chundale village in Wayanad district of Kerala was established primarily to develop
appropriate technologies to suit the region where robusta is the dominant crop. Kerala is reckoned as the second largest coffee producing
state in the country with robusta variety of coffee. The station covers an area of 116 hectares (290 acres) with 30 hectares (74 acres) of
farm with an adequate laboratory support for research.
[34]
Regional Coffee Research Station (RCRS), Thandigudi in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. The research station was established with the
sole aim of evolving suitable practices for the cultivation of coffee area in Tamil Nadu which receives major rainfall (but scanty) during
the Northeast monsoon, unlike the other regions of the country. This station is spread over an area of 12.5 hectares (31 acres) including a
research farm of 6.5 hectares (16 acres) with laboratory facilities.
[34]
Regional Coffee Research Station (RCRS), Diphu in Karbi Anglon district of Assam was established to support coffee plantations which
were established in the Northeast region in 1980 to provide an alternate, economically viable agricultural practice to the shifting or jhum
cultivation, widely practised by the tribals in the forested hills, which was a cause of concern to preserve the ecology of the region. This
regional station is spread over an area of 25 hectares (62 acres).
[34]
Popularity
The India Coffee House chain was first started by the Coffee Board in early 1940s, during British rule. In the mid-1950s, the Board closed
down the Coffee Houses, due to a policy change. However, the discharged employees then took over the branches, under the leadership of the
then communist leader A. K. Gopalan and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. The first Indian Coffee Workers Co-Operative
Society was established in Bangalore on 19 August 1957. The first Indian Coffee House was opened in New Delhi on 27 October 1957.
Gradually, the Indian Coffee House chain expanded across the country, with branches in Pondicherry, Thrissur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Jabalpur,
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Coffee latte
Mumbai, Kolkata, Tellicherry and Pune Tamil Nadu by the end of 1958. These coffee houses in the country are run by 13 cooperative
societies, which are governed by managing committees elected from the employees. A federation of the co-operative societies is the national
umbrella organisation to lead these societies.
[35][36]
However, now Coffee bars have gained in popularity with other chains such as Barista; Caf Coffee
Day is the country's largest coffee bar chain.
[37]
In the Indian home, coffee consumption is greater in
south India than elsewhere.
[38]
Indian coffee has a good reputation in Europe for its less acidic and sweetness of character and thus
widely used in Espresso Coffee, though Americans prefer African and South American coffee, which is
a more acidic and brighter variety.
[6]
Selection 9 was the winner of the Fine Cup Award for best Arabica at the 2002 Flavour of India
Cupping Competition.
[15]
In 2004, Indian Coffee with the brand name "Tata Coffee" had the distinction
of winning three gold medals at the Grand Cus De Caf Competition held in Paris.
[6]
Coffee Board of India
The Coffee Board of India is an organisation managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the government of India to promote
coffee production in India. The board was set up by an act of parliament in 1942. Until 1995 the Coffee Board marketed the coffee of many
growers from a pooled supply, but after that time coffee marketing became a private-sector activity due to the economic liberalisation in
India.
[39]
The Coffee Board's traditional duties include the promotion, sale and consumption of coffee in India and abroad; conducting coffee research;
financial assistance to establish small coffee growers; safeguarding working conditions for labourers, and managing the surplus pool of unsold
coffee.
[40]
See also
Coffee portal
References
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External links
Coffee Board of India (http://www.indiacoffee.org)
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