Success in coffee farming in Hill Tracts
Published: 12:44 PM, 19 February 2021
Coffee in the tree
Coffee is usually one of the most popular drinks in the West, but it is also very popular around the world. Now, this coffee is now becoming a crop of possibilities in Bangladesh. There is also a coffee area like tea. Many are coming forward with enthusiasm to cultivate the crop and also getting success.
Coffee is cultivated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the North Bengal. Along with paddy, jute and other crops, coffee can also bring financial success to Bangladesh in the export sector. It will play a special role in the branding of Bangladesh abroad, the concerned people hoped.
According to agricultural research sources, coffee cultivation started experimentally at Khagrachari Agricultural Research Center in 2001. Then 10,000 saplings were planted in ten gardens of the district. Later, the cultivation got the touch of commercial success. Various development agencies including the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board have already taken up programs to expand coffee cultivation.
The agriculturists say that the coffee tree looks a lot like a jasmine flower tree. Although its height is low, it is much larger in terms of girth. It is possible to cultivate coffee in any soil 600 feet above sea level. The lands in the mountain valleys and springs and in lands that do not have salinity – those lands are suitable for coffee cultivation.
Coffee fruit-beans can be collected within 4-5 years of planting. The coffee beans look a lot like wheat, however, a little bigger in size. A tree bears fruit for 20-30 years. The cost for each tree is only Tk 100-150. More than half a kilo of dried coffee fruit is obtained from a tree per year.
Not only beans from the coffee plants, but honey and shampoo can also be produced using other ingredients of the coffee plant. It is possible to collect 100 grams of honey from the flowers of a coffee tree.
“It does not require much to plant a coffee garden. By collecting coffee from the tree, the coffee beans are dried and powdered in a very short time to make instant coffee. This coffee of ‘Arabian’ variety is many times more delicious than the packaged coffee in,” said Md. Jamal Hossain, a coffee manufacturer of Khagrachari Hill Agricultural Research Center, adding that “it will be very profitable if marketed.”
Khagrachari Hill Agricultural Research Center Scientific Officer Dr. Munshi Abdur Rashid said, “We have been cultivating coffee experimentally since 2001. At present 10,000 new saplings have been planted in ten gardens in the district. The hilly region is very suitable for coffee cultivation. It is possible to produce coffee from a garden for a long time with low cost and labor. Currently, the Khagrachari Agricultural Research Center has 450 coffee trees on 2 acres of hilly land – which has already begun to see the face of success.”
The Chittagong Hill Tracts is very suitable for coffee cultivation. There is a possibility of yielding coffee in less time. Coffee farming will bring prosperity to the hill life if properly distributed among the local farmers, said Md. Mortuza Ali, an officer of the Khagrachari District Agricultural Extension.
Concerned researchers and officials have expressed hope that the coffee manufacturing industry will be set up in Khagrachari in the next two to three years. If the commercial potential of coffee cultivation at the agricultural level could be raised in the future, it would become a cash crop of the country, they said.