October 11, 2009: The residents in Sipsu, under Samtse district in southern Bhutan have started the first batch of coffee farming. Some 40,000 coffee saplings have started sprouting leaves in the nursery.
Following the allotment of 241-acre land to Samden group by the Ministry of Agriculture, the company has started organic coffee plantation. The owners expects plantation by early next year and the first harvest by 2013.
Besides economic benefits, the projects can improve living standards of rural farmers. Being a dry-season plant, the coffee farming can bring employment opportunities when locals take rest after paddy harvest.
The Group is also training local farmers interested in cultivating coffee with the aim to provide them saplings who are willing to grow. The farmers can then sell the harvested coffee beans to the company. After first harvest, if climate change effects are not so harmful, Bhutan expects to produce about 120.5 MT of coffee in a season.
The company said it will employ only Bhutanese in the farm and training for youths is undergoing for producing only organic coffee, which fetches a better price in the international market. The company will grow Arabica coffee, a variety that has a unique and distinct taste.