Made in Coorg
Surprising to some, India is in fact the fifth largest producer in the World. Coorg is the primary growing district for India’s coffee industry, producing 80% of the annual output, which is either sold as a premium speciality coffee in the US and Europe, or blended and made into instant. Most of the plantations are small operations run by families that live and work on site, that make a very modest living.
The area is also known as Kodagu and is the native home of the tribal Kodava people who now constitute only 20% of the population, the majority of whom work on the plantations. For many years the region was a separate state, until it became part of Karnataka in 1956. During the Raj it was controlled separately by the British, as the area has produced the coffee and spices used across India for many years. Every year in early December is the annual Huttari celebrations mark the start of the coffee and rice harvests.
The price of land in Coorg is currently rising due to the rapid growth of the Indian economy and increasing demand for specialist crops for export. The soil is famous for its fertility as a wide variety of crops grow easily, most notably coffee, but also rice, black pepper and cardamoms. In recent years there’s been a greatly increased demand for land in the area, both for developing large plantations and building ecotourism retreats. The next few years is likely to be a time of significant change for Coorg.