Bangalore: Coffee lovers can soon relish their cuppa brewed from the seeds of a new Arabica plant variety called “Chandragiri”. The variety was developed at the Central Coffee Research Institute at Balehonnur in Chikmagalur district after 21 years of research.
The Chandragiri plant, with clusters of coffee fruits, was introduced to coffee planters for commercial exploitation by Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh at a function organised by the Coffee Board here on Friday. Eminent scientists M.S. Swaminathan, MP and Chairman of the National Commission on Farmers, and C.N.R. Rao, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, were present.
Chandragiri is the name of the hill range in the district where the first seeds of coffee were planted.
The Coffee Board Chairman G.V.K. Rau, who explained the salient features of the plant, said the board would supply seeds for planting in 500 hectares of land. In five years, it would supply seeds for at least 15,000 hectares annually. With its large beans, the Chandragiri plant could yield 1,150 kg to 1,800 kg of clean coffee a hectare, he said.
Lauding the achievement, Mr. Ramesh said that the career advancement of researchers engaged in plantation crops such as coffee, rubber and tea should be improved under the flexible complementing system.
They should be given retirement benefits on a par with those serving in major scientific bodies, he said.
He said that the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, the Madurai University and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, were working on sequencing of coffee genome. This would open new varieties resistant to moisture change.
The Minister presented the plants to Uday Shankar, Chandrasekhar and Kaverappa.
Mr. Rao gave away seeds of the new coffee variety to Shankare Gowda, Anil Kumar Bhandari and Bose Mandanna.
Director of Research in the Coffee Board Jayarama proposed a vote of thanks.