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Araku - Coffee


Araku Valley Arabica can be described as coffee from the Hilly tracks of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha region at an elevation of 900‐1100 Mt MSL. The major type of Coffee grown in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha is Arabica Coffee and grown under the men made forest to a larger extent and known for Arabica Coffee zone. The word "coffee" entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch koffie, borrowed from the Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah. The botanical name of Arabica Coffee is Coffea Arabica.

Coffea arabica is a species of Coffea originally indigenous to the forests of the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. It is also known as the "coffee shrub of Arabia",
"mountain coffee", or "arabica coffee". Botanical description/Scientific Classification of Arabica Coffee:
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Genus: Coffea
Species: Coffeaarabica
The plant produce profuse branches and the matured leaves are dark green in colour while the young leaves are eligible either green or bronze. The flower buds are produced in clusters in the axils of leaves at each node. Initiation of flower buds and subsequent growth takes place in the months of September to March in South India. At about 8 to 10 days after the showers the blossom occurs. Arabica is self‐fertile and hence the fertilized ovary grows into a fruit and ripens into dark berries.



Historical evidence of the first sprouting of coffee in Andhra Pradesh is as far as 1863. As per the Madras District Gazetters – Vizagapatnam written by W. Francis 1907, “The Raja of Vizianagaram has a Coffee estate at Anantagiri, on the way up to Galikonda from the plains, and close by the stands the bungalow which Mr. H.G. Turner, Collector from 1881 to 1889, built when he was constructing the Anantagiri ghat up to this part of the planteau.”

Further he states about the location of Araku valley that “thirty miles north‐east of the Minamalur track is the Anantagiri (or Galikonda) ghat. This is so called from the village of Anantagiri near the top, at which the Raja of Vizianagaram has a coffee‐plantation, and from the great Galikonda hill which overlooks it. When the Jeypore estate was first entered, in 1863, and it became necessary to construct a road from its capital to the plains, the original idea was to follow a line running from Vizagapatam, through Srungavarapukota to Kasipuram (41 miles); thence four miles to Kottur at the foot of the hills; up this Anantagiri ghat, ascending through Rayavalasa and Anantagiri; over the watershed of Galikonda, four or five miles up an easy gradient; down to Janamguda on the feet plateau and thence on vid the Araku Valley, Padwa, Handiput and Sogaru to Jeypore by the ghat starting down from Petta. Later, the anantagiri was abandoned. The idea of completing it was revived in 1885 by Mr.H.G. Turner, the then Agent, who was much impressed by the capabilities of the Araku and Padwa country, the produce of which had no outlet. As per the imperial Gazetteer of India, it states that during 1900s at Anantagiri (about 2,800) feet is a coffee plantation managed by the Vizianagaram estate and a bungalow in Srungavarappukota Tahsil in Vizagapatam District, Madras. The hills are as a rule well wooded, the lower slopes being ‘reserved’ by the Vizianagram estate, but the higher ranges are usually open rolling savannahs. By the year 1920, coffee plantations were sprinkled accorss Ananthagiri, Araku and Chintapalli areas of Visakapatnam district. It was not until 1950s coffee was viewed with serious intent. Coffee Board conducted a Techno‐Feasibility Survey in the early fifties to identify areas suitable for Coffee cultivation in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. Based on the recommendations, coffee plantations were started at each of these states by agencies with the main objective to wean tribals away from Podu/shifting cultivation, engage tribal farmers by providing gainful employment, diversify sources of income through cultivation of coffee based intercrops like pepper.

As per the gazetteer of Koraput, Coffee was introduced in Koraput in 1930 by late Maharaja Bikram Dev Barma of Jeypore. Though still not popular as an agricultural produce, it was taken up as a tool for soil conservation to avoid siltation in Machkundbasin in 1958. Soil Conservation Department of State Government followed the said experience and attempted to take up the crop in a big scale as a soil conservation measure in Machkund basin to obviate silting in Jalaput reservoir way back in 1958.They took of the advantage of the then jungle growth and used it for shade and grew coffee in considerable trait of Machkund area. Encouraged by the results, Soil Conservation department went for subsequent expansion in other areas suitable for coffee till 1989‐ 90. Later, coffee plantation was introduced as a programme under Additional Central Assistance (Revised Long Term Action Plan  ‐ RLTAP) for undivided Koraput district to help the small marginal tribal farmers and landless people of BPL categories to become coffee growers.

In the years between 1960 and 1978, the AP Forest department collectively raised coffee plantations over an area of 1296 ha as an “Under Crop” in the forest areas. In 1976, ITDA introduced coffee as a development initiative for tribal groups. Under the ITDA program, tribal people were encouraged to grow coffee in existing podu land, to which they were given pattas or “right to use”. The area under coffee cultivation, which was barely 700 ha between 1975 and 1985 has increased dramatically over the decade and in 2002, the area covered 18,466 ha of which an area of 14,140 ha. Is under tribal sector. 



The area around Vishakapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh and Koraput district in Orissa is recognized to have the basic physical and climatic conditions that are required for coffee cultivation. The hilly region has an elevation ranging from 3000 to 5300 feet, receives adequate rains from South‐  West and North‐East monsoons distributed throughout the major part of the year. The average rainfall is 1250 to 1500 mm, with relative humidity between 68 to 92 percent. Soils are sandy clay loams  with optimum pH levels of 6.0 to 6.5. The terrain in the region is medium to steep slopes. The tribal of the region are growing coffee in the organic was though they were unaware of the concept of organic coffee.

Native mode of cultivation

The region anciently practicing burn and shifting (Podu) cultivation mostly by the primitive tribal group of Dandakaranya forest in eastern Ghats of India. To check the age‐old practices of Podu cultivation, Coffee was best thought by Mr. Brodie by passion during 1898 and Govt of Andhra Pradesh by policy during late sixties. Coffee was grown in the State of Andhra Pradesh in the year 1898 by Mr.Bordie, a Britisher, in Pumuleru Valley of East Godavari and also in Sircilla of Karimnagar district. Coffee had another entry in to Andhra Pradesh in 1920 introduced by the Jamindars /Revenue Officers and progressive tribal growers and coffee cultivation slowly spread to Anantagiri, Minumuluru and Chintapalli area of Visakhapatnam. At present context the Coffee grown in the 11 mandals of the agency area of Visakhapatnam district. Coffee was first introduced in the State of Odisha by the then Maharaja of Jeypore at Bicholkota near Jeypore. In the year 1958 Soil Conservation department under Govt. of Odisha took up coffee in large tract of Machkund catchment area to check soil erosion. The main objective was to take advantage of Agro climatic condition and existing shade plants, raised in hilly slopes.  During late 90 s few private entrepreneurs has ventured into the coffee cultivation and became role model for other aspirants, subsequently the Govt. of Odisha inclined towards expanding coffee in tribal sector utilizing the fund from the different schemes like ITDA, DRDA, NABARD, RLTAP, NREGS    as it realised that coffee is the best fit to provide effective and sustainable livelihood. Soil The coffee soils in Araku valley belong to the red lateritic soil groups. They differ in texture from sandy loam to clayey loam with colour varying from light grey to deep red. The soils are usually rich in organic matter and acidic to neutral in reaction (pH).The total soluble salts are well below the sensitivity limits. They are well supplied with potassium but are generally low in available phosphorus. They are also poor in calcium and magnesium. They respond well to liming, manuring and others oil management practices


The approved methods of coffee cultivation in Araku valley is planting under shade. The shade pattern in the Araku valley region is under predominantly mono shade. In the initial year the grower has to plant the shade plants following with mixed shade pattern (60% mono shade and 40% mixed shade) to maintain the ideal shade for coffee. After establishment of shade, the grower takes up Coffee depending upon the cultural practices. The thick shade is maintained in the entire region to combat the prolonged drought period from November to May and related pest and disease infestation. The forest type can be classified as “dry deciduous” The ever green tree species viz. Spondiasmangifera (Wild Mango), Syzigium Cumini (Jambolona), ArtocarpusIntegrifilia (Jack), Ficus species , Dalbergiasissoo (Rose wood) , Burseraserrata, Albizziaodoritissima, Schhelicheraoleosa, Toona ciliate etc are seen along with deciduous tree species such as Terminalia species Gmelinaarboria, Grewiatiliefolia in the Eastern Ghats where Coffee is cultivated. In addition to the above men made grown tree species, Gravillearobusta (Silver oak), Acrocarpusraxinifolios and Maesopsisemini were also planted in the Coffee estates where the natural shade cover is found to be thin. The mixed shade canopy formed with the combination varied lush green native tree species contribute to a deposition of abundant organic matter and minerals in the soil to produce quality Coffee.  To give immediate shade in the NTA, the growers generally plants the quick shade species viz. Indigoferatasmania, Glaricidia, Crotalaria etc.

Planting from nursery

After receiving the seed coffee from the Coffee Board, Primary nursery followed by raising of secondary nursery practices are followed and after attending a 5 pair of leaves in the polybag, the seedlings transfers to the planting site for taking of planting in the main field. In the above practices different implementing agency ie. ITDA in AP/Implementing Agency of Odisha extends financial support besides ground level technical support. In general, the nursery works starts by January whereas planting of poly bag seedlings in the main field starts by August and ends before October.


Weeding is an important operation in coffee and during initial establishment in particular and the growers of this region are very familiar to this practice and do very efficiently. As the average holding of the estates is less than 2 ha ,the works gets completed by most family members. However few private entrepreneurs of the coffee largely confined to Odisha engage labourers for this job. In general it practice    to be carefully attended to, but where from the nature of the soil or of the lay of the land there is danger of loss of surface soil from heavy rain; no‐hoe weeding is allowed during the monsoon; but only hand weeding or cutting with grass‐knives and, after the monsoon, a breaking up of the soil, to turn the weeds down. Easy roads are laid out to bring every part of the estate within ready access and at the same time to be the means of an effectual drainage.

With the end of the first year's operations, the planter very likely build for himself a simple cottage on a convenient spot that commands a fine view and some Bungalows were most beautifully situated. With the third year, the estate came into flower and bearing. In March or April the snowy white of the blossoms, in their copiousness but slightly relieved by the dark green foliage, delights the eyes with its morning freshness and purity and glory the jessamine‐like flowers fill the air with an agreeable aroma.