GI tag for India’s ‘first coffee’

Baba Budangiri, 250 km from Bengaluru, where coffee was first grown in India, is going for Geographical
Indication (GI) of its variety of the Arabica brew. On January 1, the Coffee Board filed an application for the GI tagging of Baba Budangiri Arabica and four other varieties — Coorg Arabica, Wayanad Robusta, Chikmagalur Arabic and Araku Valley Arabica — with the Geographical Indication Registry at Chennai. Coffee Board head (coffee quality) K Basavaraj said: “We have applied for the GI marker and we are also profiling the majority variety grown in Baba Budangiri, a variety called Selection795,” Basavaraj said. Selection-795 (S795) is considered to be the natural descendant of two of the oldest African cultivars of coffee — Coffea Arabica and Coffea Liberica — and a third variety is called Kent. Today, Baba Budangiri Arabica is grown across 15,000 hectares around the original hills, where it was first planted. Over the last few centuries, coffee plantations grew beyond Baba Budangiri and the adjoining Chickmagalur and spread to Kodagu and Hassan in Karnataka, and Wayanad, Travancore and Nelliampathy regions of Kerala. It is also grown in the hilly regions of Palani, Shevroy, Nilgiris and Anamalais in
Tamil Nadu. The non-traditional areas of coffee-growing in India includes certain pockets in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.