Good news about Nepali coffee
This is a press release from the USA, but includes some interesting informaiton about Plantec, one of Nepal’s foremost coffee growers.
After 14 years of surmounting innumerable obstacles in their beloved homeland of Nepal, Ujjal Rana and the dedicated staff of the Plantec Coffee Estate have perfected the cultivation of superb Arabica coffee and pioneered a new industry in one of the world’s most enchanting yet impoverished countries.
At an early age after receiving his education in Darjeeling, Ujjal Rana chose to forgo the privileges afforded by his heritage as a member of one of Nepal’s most prominent dynastic families. Instead, he traveled the world and upon his return, chose to invest his resources and considerable knowledge working alongside remote villagers. The fruits of his efforts are paying off, not only for Ujjal and his wife, but also scores of struggling farmers in this, one of the planet’s poorest countries. Their Plantec Estate has emerged as not only the largest coffee farm in Nepal, but more significantly, has achieved quality standards that rival the World’s finest specialty coffees and is actively working with smaller local farmers to form cooperatives also capable of producing desirable high quality coffees for export.
His dream of growing coffee originated during his travels as a youth in Papua, New Guinea. After returning to Nepal, he worked as an aviation consultant while he and his wife found what they believed to be the perfect location for growing world-class coffee. Along the banks of the Trisuli River in Northern Nepal, the farm they chose had excellent climate and elevation, ample water and the skilled workforce needed to get started. “We spent those early years experimenting with coffee varieties, finally learning which produce the best coffee here,” says Ujjal. Life was never dull as they encountered fierce leopards, pesky monkeys, and Maoists, along with all the usual challenges all farmers face. “When we first began, my wife and I watched in amazement as a Leopard took down and consumed a buffalo right next to our house.”
All that is history as the farm now rivals the most pristine shade grown coffee farms in the world. American businessman and President of Common Good Foods, Jim Haun, recently visited the estate. “We began purchasing coffee from Ujjal last year and were very impressed with the quality. Historically Nepali coffee hasn’t cupped as well as some leading coffees, but Ujjal and his people have invested a tremendous amount of effort and intellect in this project and the results are obvious in the cup,” Haun adds, “The countryside surrounding the farm is breathtaking in its beauty. I was amazed with what they’ve accomplished. In all my travels I have never seen such dense shade tree coverage and the density and lushness of the coffee plants is remarkable considering that it has always been organically grown. Once you arrive, it’s so peaceful and remote, with such an amazing variety of birds, you don’t want to leave.”
The Plantec Estate encompasses about 100 acres and they say yields about 50 tons of coffee annually, most of which is shipped to Europe and now the US. They’ve been able to control the quality by managing the entire farm, as opposed to consolidating from numerous smaller farms. Always looking forward, Ujjal works tirelessly to help smaller farmers form well run co-ops in Nepal which maintain the same high quality controls and standards.
Haun notes, “While I was there we met with the regional USDA Organic inspector and are very excited to see that they are now underway in the process of USDA Organic certification. This will be a huge boost for all Nepalese coffee farmers in the long run, most or all of whom produce organically but are not able to afford the certification process.”
“This has been a very adventure-filled project contributing to reforestation, soil conservation, and wildlife conservation especially in connection with providing shelter to both migratory and non-migratory birds and endanger animals many of which have returned after several years to the vicinity,” says Ujjal. “Our project has had considerable impact on the livelihood of the local inhabitants of this remote region especially in regard to women employment and training.”
“Ultimately to succeed, they know they need to produce exceptional coffee and from what I saw, they take this very seriously,” according to Haun. “They’ve done their research and know what grows best in their locale, they have excellent climate, soil and elevation and I suppose the secrets of their success may be the incredible shade canopy and the glacial fed waters from the nearby Ganesh Himal mountain range used for irrigating and processing on site.”
The emergence of premium quality coffee as a sought after product in the global market is providing a much needed infusion of hope and income for the thousands of hard-working Nepalese farmers who recognize their need to transform from subsistence farming. The future looks very bright.
Plantec Estate Nepalese coffee from Common Food Foods is available in the US on Amazon.com.
A brief video of the Plantec Coffee Estate may be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxzp-AYal-k
About Common Good Foods, LLC
Common Good Foods is a US-based manufacturer and provider of premium quality, responsibly produced foods and supporter of humanitarian and development initiatives in producer countries.
Common Good Foods, LLC
Jim Haun, President
PO Box 1659
Hood River, OR 97031
About Plantec Coffee Estate
Plantec Coffee Estates is a Nepal-based grower and exporter of premium Arabica coffee, including the brand, Jalpa Gold.
Plantec Coffee Estate
Ujjal Rana, President
G.P.O. Box: 6952