The history of coffee is very interesting. Coffee ranks second only to tea as a beverage. The popularity of coffee is increasing day by day in Bangladesh. Coffee is widely cultivated in countries like Brazil, the Netherlands, East Indies, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc. The soil and climate of Bangladesh are quite suitable for coffee cultivation.
Coffee is a crop of the Rubiaceae family. Of the 60 species of the genus Coffea, 3 species of coffee are cultivated. Arabica, Robusta and Liberica. The first two were cultivated in Bangladesh.
Climate for Coffee Cultivation:
Warm and humid climates but dry climates are better at fruit maturity. The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm for coffee growth. However, coffee can be cultivated in low-rainfall areas with irrigation and mulching.
Sandy-loamy acid soil (level 6-6.50) is best. Saline soils and standing water at the base of the plant cannot tolerate coffee.
Seedlings are made from coffee seeds and cuttings. First, ripe, healthy, pest-free seeds are collected and the fruit is peeled and washed in clean water to separate the seeds from the fruit. The seeds are well dried and mixed with dry wood powder or ash and spread in the shade. After 4/5 days the seeds are separated and the seeds are sown in the seed bed. Seedlings germinate within 30-45 days after sowing. Seedlings are transferred to polybags during February- March. It is best to plant seedlings by making holes in the mainland in May-June. It is better to apply organic fertilizers and a small number of chemical fertilizers in the pit. 2500-2000 and 2000-625 seedlings are required per hectare if Arabica seedlings are planted at 2-2.50 m and Robusta at 2.50-4 m spacing respectively.
Coffee plants cannot tolerate high temperatures and intense sunlight. Robusta cultivars are somewhat tolerant and shade trees should be planted in coffee gardens. Mandar, kadai, jackfruit, fig, betel nut, papaya, etc. can be planted as shade trees. Pepper can be grown as an addition to betel nut.
Fertilizer Application for Coffee Cultivation:
Fertilizer application depends on variety, plant age, soil quality, climate, etc. Robusta varieties require less fertilizer than Arabica varieties. Applying fertilizer at the root of the plant 4 times a year gives good results. March (before flowering), May (after flowering), August, and October at the rate of 20 grams of urea, 15 grams of TSP, and 20 grams of potash per 1-year-old plant should be applied each time.
35 g urea, 25 g TSP, and 25 g potash are required at the base of 4th-year plants. 5 years and older plants require 45 grams of urea, 30 grams of TSP, and 30 grams of potash. It is better to apply fertilizer by draining it at a certain distance from the base of the plant. Mulching with irrigation is necessary. Moreover, applying 5-6 kg of organic fertilizers per plant will give good results. Again, when the growth of the plant slows down and at the time of flowering and fruiting, 25 grams of urea, 20 grams of TSP, and 18 grams of potash can be sprayed on the leaves with 10 liters of water.
The garden should be weed free for the first 2/3 years. Cultivation of seed crops between two rows with mulching at the base of the tree will add nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. Irrigation should be done in April-May if necessary. New saplings should be planted in place of dead saplings.
Pruning is important to give proper structure to the tree to increase fruit-bearing capacity. 1-1.50 m from the ground in case of pruning in a single method. The top twenty of the stem should be cut off. It will increase the number of fruiting branches and make it bushy.
The coffee plants area unit is less vulnerable to pests and diseases. In terms of insects, milling, green bug, and white stem borer are notable. Insecticides like Malathion/Carbaryl/Cypermethrin are easily controlled. A notable disease of coffee is leaf rust. This disease can be controlled by spraying 0.5% Bordeaux mixer. Moreover, black rot, root rot, and brown scorch disease are often seen. The disease can be controlled by applying a 0.5% Bordeaux mixer.
Coffee can be harvested 2-3 years after planting. 8-9 months after flowering in Arabica and 10-11 months in Robusta is the ideal time to harvest the fruit. Ripe red fruits are picked by hand. Fruits are collected twice a year in 4-6 installments of 10-15 days. A tree yields 1 kg of fruit per year. Yield 750-1000 kg per hectare.