The saga of Indian coffee began on a gentle note, with the planting of ‘Seven seeds’ of ‘Mocha’ during 1600 AD by the legendary holy saint Baba Budan, in the courtyard of his hermitage on ‘Baba Budan Giri’ in Karnataka. For quite a considerable duration, the plants remained as a garden curiosity and spread slowly as backyard plantings. It was in the 18th century that the commercial plantations of coffee were started, thanks to the success of British entrepreneurs in conquering the hostile forest terrain in south India. Till then, Indian coffee industry has made rapid strides and earned a distinct identity in the coffee map of the world.
In the 1940’s, the coffee industry in India was in a desperate state due to the II World war resulting in very low prices and ravages of pests and diseases. At this time, the Government of India set up the ‘Coffee Board’ through a constitutional act “Coffee Act VII of 1942” under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Board comprises 33 members covering the Chairman and the Secretary & Chief Executive Officer. The remaining 31 representatives represent the various interests such as coffee growing industry, coffee trade interests, curing establishments, interests of labor and consumers, representatives of governments of the principal coffee-growing states, and Members of Parliament.
Coffee Board & its functions
- The wide functions through six statutory committees which are appointed for one year term each and the functions of each committee as per the Coffee Act are:
- Deals with works specifically assigned to it under the Coffee Rules. In addition to that deals with matters not specifically assigned to the Propaganda, Marketing, Research, or any other committees constituted by the Board.
- Deals with issues concerned to the promotion of sale and increasing the consumption in India and elsewhere of the coffee produced in India.
- Deals with coffee marketing projects as set forth in the Act and Rules.
- Deals with the encouragement of agricultural and technological research in the interest of the coffee industry in India.
- Deals with the measures that may be responsible for the development of coffee estates
- Deals with all matters relating to the improvement in the quality of coffee produced in India.
- The Board also had one non-statutory committee viz., Audit Committee
- Deals with the issues relating to Annual Accounts and also study
Role of Coffee Board
After pooling was discontinued in 1996, Coffee Board works as the friend, philosopher, and guide to the Coffee sector covering the entire value chain. The major activities are primarily directed towards research & development, transfer of technology, quality improvement, extending development support to the growing sector, promotion of coffee in export and domestic markets. The activities of the Board are broadly focused at (i) enhancement of production, productivity & quality; (ii) export promotion for achieving higher value returns for Indian Coffee and (iii) supporting the development of the Domestic market.