Story: Nepali coffee producers build skills despite COVID-19 restrictions

3 June 2021
ITC News

“The training aspects on trade and transport gave me a unique perspective on how coffee trade happens around the world,” said Manoj Shahi, barista and quality analyst from the Nepal Coffee Producers Association.

Manoj Shahi participated in a four-day-long training for Nepali coffee professionals, which the International Trade Centre together with the Government of Nepal organized virtually due to the current travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the European Union-Nepal Trade and Investment Programme, Manoj Shahi and twenty-four other Nepali coffee professionals, including baristas, farmers, roasters, and traders, learned how to assess coffee based on its smell and taste, perceiving and interpreting coffee samples. The training also explained the entire coffee production process from growing the plant, to processing, shipping, storage, and arrival at roasters.

“We were extremely excited to be able to connect with learners in Nepal. We were looking forward to sharing our knowledge from the Specialty Coffee Association that will be useful for them in their business and workplace,” said trainer Pamela Chng, the first Singaporean on the Board of Directors of the global Specialty Coffee Association.

“The EU has been one of the major export destinations for Nepali products, including coffee,” said Ganesh Prasad Pandeya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Supplies. “The EU has been providing preferential market access for Nepal exports under its Everything but Arms arrangement. I hope the training contributed to building supply-side capacity, and quality enhancement of Nepali coffee in key international markets,” he added.

H.E. Nona Deprez, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal said that the EU is committed to promoting Nepali coffee: “There is a clear opportunity for inclusive growth by developing Nepalese coffee sector, as around 30,000 households across 43 districts earn their income from the coffee sector,” she said.

“The training was designed with the Specialty Coffee Association and are globally recognized certification courses. Hence the training is for you, for your future,” she told the participants. 

The coffee professionals including Manoj Shahi (see photo) look forward to more practical sessions once travel restrictions are lifted.