DARJEELING, India – The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is all set to introduce coffee plantation in Kalimpong so that the farmers can have an alternative to cash crops like ginger, orange and large cardamom whose production over the years have been decreasing in hills.
In a press statement, GTA media executive Vikram Rai said, “Under the directions of the GTA high officials, the Cinchona Directorate has made a coffee plantation project for Kalimpong district and saplings of coffee are being provided for the farmers there.
The areas where oranges grow are ideal for coffee plantation. The main aim introducing farming of coffee in the hills is that the condition of major crops grown here like oranges, ginger and large cardamom are not well for which the Cinchona directorate and the Horticulture department wants to create an alternative for the farmers.
The GTA is taking this matter seriously with coffee plantation already started in some places. Darjeeling tea is famous over the world and now we want that coffee produced in Kalimpong is also recognized all over the world.”
Rai informed that steps being taken for this project include recognition of the farmers interested in coffee farming for which 407 farmers have already been chosen. From Kalimpong 1 and Kalimpong 2, four clusters have been separated which includes Loley, Bhalukhop, Algarah and Gidabling which has a total of 35 villages.
Rai informed that coffee cultivation will be done in about 345.72 acre of land.
“Training has been given to some of the farmers that have been chosen on coffee plantation by resource people that had come from the Coffee Board of India while about 50 of them will be sent to Karnataka for training,” states the press release.
High yielding and quality saplings called Chandragiri have already been procured from Karnataka and distribution started.
“The GTA will be spending about Rs. 2 crore for this project with about 7 lakh 20,000 saplings to be planted. About 6 kg of coffee can be yielded from one seed and a total of about 43.20 lakh kg of coffee can be grown which will come at a price of about Rs. 8.64 crore,” said Rai.
The press release added that a dry processing unit and wet processing unit will be made for coffee production. A talk is also going on with the World Bank for an irrigation project for coffee along with the GTA also trying for plantation of fruits along with coffee cultivation.