A one-day programme to discuss the various issues and strategies to be followed for making coffee a cash crop for suitable regions of the Himachal was organised yesterday at Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni. The programme with support from the National Agricultural Higher Educational Project’s Institutional Development Plan (NAHEP IDP).
Ghumarwin MLA Rajesh Dharmani, who has initiated the discussions between the different stakeholders on the prospect of large-scale coffee cultivation in the state, was the chief guest on the occasion. Dharmani has sought the technical expertise of the university for conducting research on different coffee varieties that could be suitable for cultivation in areas with a conducive environment.
Addressing the gathering of industry experts, coffee entrepreneurs from Karnataka, university scientists and officers from the line departments engaged in coffee nursery production, Dharmani said that coffee was being grown by some farmers in parts of Bilaspur district and with further research studies on the prospect of large scale cultivation can be found out in different parts of Himachal. He said that the university and the line departments can help in this cause and can pave the way for the cultivation of a different cash crop.
Coffee experts and entrepreneurs from Karnataka also presented their views on the different aspects of coffee cultivation. Sven Vincent Goveas and Priyanka Vas Naik gave a detailed presentation on different aspects of coffee cultivation from climatic conditions, different varieties, harvesting and the different crops which can be grown along with coffee to supplement the income. They shared that India was known for its shade-growing coffee and two main varieties, Arabica and Robusta were mainly grown here. India’s share in global coffee production was only 3 percent and out of this, around 85 percent is exported, fetching thousands of crores of foreign exchange. Dr. Arun Bhardwaj shared the different branding strategies that have been adopted by coffee growers to increase the value of their produce.
Vice Chancellor Prof Rajeshwar Singh Chandel assured all the support of the university in conducting research trials on coffee in areas that have suitable conditions for its cultivation. He said that to boost research, trials in the university and its constituent college at Neri will be taken up along with assigning research problems to postgraduate and doctorate students. Prof Chandel added that coffee has the scope to become a new cash crop for Himachal and will help in crop diversification and reduce dependence on a single crop. He added that the university will look to aid the farmers and carry forward the work already done on coffee cultivation in the state.
Dr. KK Raina, PI NAHEP IDP welcomed the guests and gave an overview of the skill upgradation and Entrepreneurship activities carried out by the university under the NAHEP IDP Project. An interaction session on entrepreneurship development was also held where the experts shared their entrepreneurial journey with the students and motivated them to start their enterprises in the agricultural sector. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Sanjeev Chauhan, Director of Research. The statutory officers, Heads of department and scientists, officers from the agriculture department attended the event.