“More and more people are going for Nepali coffee as local producers have been maintaining quality,” said Krishna Ghimire, the vice-president of the Coffee Producer’s Association.
We can only speculate to the Ghimire’s emotions were as he made that statement, but we imagine that his words were underpinned with pride. And with good reason too, he believes that the demand for coffee grown in the mountainous Asian country has grown by a quarter in just twelve short months.
Ghimire is in a privileged position. Aside from being involved with the CPA, he is also chairman of Highland Coffee, a company that sells roasted coffee under a number of different brands.
“We sold 125 tonnes of coffee last year,” he noted, a figure which well above the 100 tonnes recorded the year previously but somewhat contradictory to the 150 tonnes he claimed last November.
Traders have also been reporting an increase in sales and there has been a marked effort to improve the all-around product, which has seen a renewed emphasis on the packaging, processing and marketing of Nepalese coffee.
The effort has paid off as now many within Nepal are drinking home-grown coffee.
“A few years ago, only foreign tourists used to buy [our] coffee,” begins Ram Sarah Phuyal, the operations manager of the company Himalayan Java.
“But lately the number of Nepali coffee drinkers has shot up.”
But despite seeing the amount of coffee for the domestic market increase at a very encouraging rate overall production hasn’t risen. The Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) has stated that over output has shrunk from 418 tonnes to 366, which, in turn, suggests export levels are in serious decline.
Prem Acharya, of the NTCDB, has said that the national government has already planned to provide new plants to coffee farmers free of charge in a bid to improve production and turnaround flagging export levels.
“We have distributed 600,000 plants in various districts,” he claimed.