Araku valley (Andhra Pradesh), Mar 25 : Organic coffee grown in Andhra Pradesh's Araku Valley is making its presence felt across the world.
Spread in an area of around 36 square kilometres, and located at altitudes ranging between 600 and 900 meters above sea level, the valley is ideal for coffee cultivation.
Encouraged by the good demand for the coffee, tribals of the valley started organically cultivating coffee without fertilizers, chemicals or pesticides.
The organically grown Coffea Arabica species in this area has drawn international attention. It has been winning 'Flavour of India-Fine Cup Award' for two years now.
Coffea Arabica contains less caffeine and is considered to produce better coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species.
The government's exploring the ways to improve the infrastructure and storage facilities for boosting exports.
"We are going to have a three way agreement between Coffee Board, the ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency) and the Nandi Foundation. The Coffee Board will provide the technical assistance, the ITDA will do social mobility of Mahila Mukhia's (Lady Village Heads) and identify the areas for coffee cultivation and the Nandi Foundation will provide assistance for marketing both in India as well as abroad," said Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Commerce. The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) like Nandi Foundation have integrated tribals to form a society so that they get better rate of their coffee cultivation and moreover, the full potential of organic coffee can be exploited.
"With the partnership of ITDA in the year 2007-08, we are hoping to get lot of buyer's from outside. ITDA has given us the responsibility to take care of marketing part and we should ensure that minimum of 300 tonnes of coffee beans should be exported to different countries," said Mustak Khan, Manager, Nandi Foundation.
Coffee cultivation in Araku Valley began way back in 1898 with the initiative of Brodi, a British official. This initiative was carried further when in 1920 the rich residents of the valley started cultivating coffee.
The United States is the largest market for coffee, followed by Germany and Japan.
The Nordic countries consume the most coffee per capita, with Finlandypically occupying the top spot with per-capita consumption in excess of a little over 10 kg per year, closely followed by Norway, Sweden and Denmark.