Govt to take up large-scale coffee cultivation in Darjeeling

coffee cultivation in Darjeeling
Kolkata: The state Self-Help Group & Self Employment (SHG&SE) department will soon take up large-scale coffee cultivation in Darjeeling, particularly as a substitute livelihood in the wake of orange production suffering a setback in recent times. "We have already held talks with the Coffee Board of India and our research team is in constant touch with them so that we can produce coffee in our state," said Sadhan Pande, minister for SHG&SE on the sidelines of the 3rd India Retail Summit organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Sources in the SHG department said some 220 odd farmers based in the Bungkulung area under Manju Tea estate in Mirik, Darjeeling, have successfully cultivated coffee and have received appreciation from the officials of the Coffee Board, who visited the area on more than one occasion. "In consultation with the experts from the Board, we found out the height of the Manju Tea estate is congenial for coffee cultivation. Hence, we have encouraged locals to take it up as an alternative to orange cultivation that was below expectation. They cultivated coffee in a land of 2.5 bighas and found good results," the source said.

Experts from the Coffee Board were highly impressed with the taste of coffee grown by these farmers but they pointed out the stuff have the chance to be infected with pesticides in quick time. They also advised for promoting coffee cultivation in the area."We have already placed orders with the Board for 5 kg seeds. We are hopeful of starting cultivation with these improved quality seeds from January next year. After seeing the results, we will be procuring more seeds and take this cultivation on a larger scale," a senior official of the SHG department said. The SHG department in coordination with the district administration is also conducting door-to-door campaign to encourage coffee cultivation in and around the area. It may be mentioned that a team of the standing committee of the state assembly associated with the SHG department recently visited Darjeeling and visited the land of the farmers, who have cultivated coffee. The team encouraged them and assured of all possible help for large- scale cultivation.

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The state Self-Help Group & Self Employment (SHG&SE) department will soon take up large-scale coffee cultivation in Darjeeling, particularly as a substitute livelihood in the wake of orange production suffering a setback in recent times.

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