Chairman of the Coffee Board Jawaid Akhtar said on Thursday that the board is planning to introduce “three or four new hybrid varieties of coffee soon”.

“These new Arabica varieties are in the pipeline,” he said, while addressing the 55th Annual Conference of the Karnataka Planters’ Association.

Mr. Akhtar said that the board is also making efforts to expand acreage under coffee in the traditional coffee growing States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala by 20,000 hectares. “We are also planning to expand acreage in non-traditional States such as Orissa and Andhra Pradesh,” Mr. Akhtar said. Referring to the demand by coffee growers that the government support their efforts at increasing mechanisation in the industry, Mr. Akhtar said that the government is preparing such schemes for implementation during the 12th Plan period.

The highlight of the conference was a presentation by Ramario Gava Ferrao, a researcher in plant genetics and breeding from Brazil.

Dr. Ferrao pointed out that unlike in India, in many parts of Brazil, the coffee crop is on terrain that is more conducive for mechanisation.

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