Following Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s recent state visit, there is widespread discussion about promoting coffee cultivation in Bastar.
He drank coffee at the Bastar coffee stall during an exhibition in the terror hotbed. To promote coffee in the Indian and international markets, Congress MPs proposed that state Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel sign a memorandum of understanding with international coffee brands for ‘Bastaria’ coffee.
The people of Bastar live entirely off agriculture and forest products. Paddy is the most widely grown crop in terms of agriculture, but innovation is gradually taking shape. Coffee is grown on several hundred acres of land in Darbha, Kakalgur, and Dilmili villages in the Darbha block, generating enormous profits for forest dwellers and farmers.
The reason coffee is grown in the Darbha block of Bastar is that it can only be grown in areas that are several metres above sea level. According to those involved in implementing this initiative, three conditions are necessary for coffee cultivation: elevation above sea level, rainfall between February and March, and an area free of direct sunlight. Darbha is a development block located between 600 and 1400 metres above sea level.
In Bastar, two varieties of coffee are grown: Arabica and Robusta. Coffee cultivation began as an experiment, which proved successful, and farmers have since begun cultivating it. Numerous other crops can be grown in conjunction with coffee cultivation.
According to Bastar Collector Rajat Bansal, tribal people who rely entirely on forest produce and traditional farming are turning to coffee cultivation as a profitable and viable option. Their lives are undergoing a transformation as their income more than doubles. The state government has established a coffee board to promote coffee cultivation in the state. The country’s coffee board has determined that the coffee produced here is of high quality.
According to experts, the profit earned from coffee cultivation is nearly Rs 30,000 to 40,000 per acre per year, which is significantly more than the profit earned from other crops. Coffee cultivation has begun on nearly 3,000 acres in Bastar due to the climate’s adaptability. Bastar coffee’s popularity is rapidly growing in other countries as well. Currently, the state exports coffee to eight countries.