BHUBANESHWAR (Odisha): Odisha’s tribal heartland of Koraput, ensconced in dense jungles and rolling hills with waterfalls of utmost beauty, has added a hot new feather to the state’s crown – a home-grown coffee now branded and marketed as ‘Koraput Coffee’.
ST & SC Development Department, Government of Odisha through its dedicated wings Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL) and the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Koraput has partnered with Coffee Board of India and Koraput District Administration to provide end to end solution for boosting the growth of coffee plantation and smallholder planters.
“In order to dispel whatever apprehensions people may have about this new coffee, we grind the coffee beans in front of the customers and then add milk and sugar as per their wish before serving hot mugs of coffee to them. Demand is simply rising, mainly in the evenings,” said Gopabandhu Satpathy, a TDCCOL official.
TDCCOL is leading the partnership by setting up a processing & warehousing facility at Sunabeda, Koraput for curing parchment and cherry coffee, clean coffee grading & storage. TDCCOL will directly procure parchment & cherry from small & marginal tribal farmers through aggregation centres on mutually agreed price with direct beneficiary transfer (DBT) payment system.
Micro testing lab for roasting, grinding, brewing and packaging & Retail outlet for sales of branded filter coffee powder & coffee beans are being established at Tribal World, Chandan Pokhar, Koraput. Branded Cafe kiosk for the marketing of finished product and brand building is being inaugurated soon at Rupali Square in Bhubaneswar.
Coffee Board of India is a lead technical partner, providing support on coffee plantation development, Guidance to coffee growers on best management practices for pre & post-harvest techniques, Skill-building of small & marginal coffee grower farmers, on better cultural practices to increase production, standardization of quality parameters for parchment, cherry and clean coffee as well as technical support for setting up processing unit, micro testing lab and warehouse establishment on technical grounds.
The seeds of today’s Koraput Coffee were literally sown in the early 1930s. What started on an experimental basis by a royal of the time in southern Odisha’s tribal belt is now all set to pitchfork the state’s name onto the world’s coffee map.
It was the polyglot king of Koraput, Rajbahadur Rama Chandra Deo, who first planted the coffee seeds and grew a few small gardens. Deo, who loved sipping coffee, had played an important role in the formation of Odisha as a separate province on the basis of language on April 1, 1936. He had participated in deliberations with British officials in London in 1932 and 1933.
The Odisha government started promoting coffee cultivation in Koraput since 1960, three years before Deo’s death. Private planters joined the initiative in the following years. Of the 3,200 hectares currently under coffee cultivation in Koraput, private planters and Coffee Board hold 943 hectares and 10.54 hectares respectively, and the rest are with tribal farmers.