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Monday, October 4, 2010


Coffee (Coffea spp) under family Rubiaceae was grown in Malaysia since 1799 especially at the West Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Coffee in Malaysia was grown mostly by smallholder either monocrops or as intercrop with coconut. The Liberica varieties are popular in Johor and Selangor and the Robusta variety planted on Northern Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. Total area of coffee growing area was decrease from 9,470 hectare in 1998 to only about 3,714 hetare in 2014. Sabah gron 60% of coffee plants followed by Johore (38%) and other states. Sabah grow Robusta Coffee (75%) and Liberica Coffee (15%) at lowland and highland area. Johore only grow Liberica coffee. The reduction of coffee planting due to the lack of farmers interests. Other farmers refuse to grow coffee because of low income compare and farmers changing coffee area with oil palm crops. Traditional area such as in Batu Pahat, Muar, Pontian, Sabak Bernam and Bagan Datok Perak mostly converted the vegetation to oil palm. This article writes about package technology of coffee that I want to share with reader based on my experience as agriculture extension agent in Johore, Melaka and Sarawak for more than 16 years. This article in "Anih Agro Technology' I would like ti share my knowledge about coffee industry in Malaysia.

Coffee is a perennial crop with about 66 species but only 3 species was commercially grow. The commercial species was Coffea liberica, Coffea robusta and Coffea arabica. In Malaysia only Liberica and Robusta species was grown. Coffee tree able to grow up to 6-15 meter height without pruning and survive up to about 25 years. However from my observation the commercial purpose the pruning activities allow coffee tree for only 160 - 180 cm tall for agronomic management practices. Coffee trunk grow with an erected shape with two stages (Ototropic and Plagiotropic). The root system has a main trunk root supported with secondary and tertiary root with range at 0.5 - 4 meters depth. The leaves are green in color with a pair arrangement. Coffee flower is white in color, produce aromatic smell and bearing after a year of plantation. The pollination process agent was insects and winds blow up to 40 meters distance. The coffee fruit was round shape with green color at young stage and turn to red color when ripe with two seeds. Coffee seeds or known as coffee beans covered with mucilage was the main components of the product. Coffee bean processed to coffee powder and end product.

The Liberica Coffee that was grown in West Cost Peninsular Malaysia was a Polyhybrid variety. The recently few popular variety was release such as MKL 2, MKL 3 and MKL 4 for Liberica and MKR 2, MKR 3, MKR 4 and MKR 5 for Robusta. Coffee able to grow in fertile soil to medium faertile soil but the most important is proper drainage system. Coffe was planted using selected seedling from determined seeds (Recommended variety). The 4-6 months old seedling are ready for transplanting. Reproduction of seedling through marcotting or cutting seldom practiced in Johor. Planting distance recommended was 3 meter x 3 meter giving 1,280 trees per hectare. From my observation in Muar under matured coconut tree the farmers adjusted the planting distance according to coconut planting distance (790 tree/ ha). For monocrop planting system the area has to provide a shade tree such as banana, Gliricidia or suitable fruit trees. Manuring in coffee is critical activities as factor to determine coffee Quantity and Quality. The NPK composition differ from those for Liberica Variety and Robusta variety. Liberica used NPK 16.4:1.6:21.9 but Robusta was compound fertilizer such as NPK 20.5:1.7:18.5 respectively at 150 kg/ha, 250 kg/ha, 350 kg/ha and 500 kg/ha for 1, 2 nd, 3r and after 4 th year old. Liming for 150 - 350 kg/ha has applied annually to increase pH. The detail manuring practice has some different for Mineral Soil, Peat Soil and Inland/Interior soil type.

Pruning in coffee is an important agronomic practices. The tree formation pruning by cutting main trunk at 190 cm from the bottom for easy maintenance height especially on harvesting activities. This was done after 4-6 month of transplanting in the farm. Remove all unnecessary young shoot and branching system and allow more aeration freely flow. Use a sharp scateurs or pruning saw as pruning equipments. Collect all the removal parts to an area for sanitation. The pruning activities must tailored with the manuring program calendar.
Coffee tree cannot sustain in water-logged area. The drainage system must regularly maintained especially during rainy season. drainage with 150 cm x 100 cm x 50 cm must be able to function in wet season.

There was a disease and pests attack coffee in Malaysia. the most common disease was Leaf Rust (Hamelia vastatrix) that cause the leaves turn purplish and grayish color at the bottom of the leaves. Spray with cuprum oxide those infected leaves. The second disease was Miscelium Disease (Mirassmellius scandens) that attack coffee stem and leaves. The infected leaves will turn grey and than fall dawn. Control by pruning and removal of infected branch and spraying with copper base chemicals. The Cendawan Angin caused by Corticum salmonicolor attacked the stem and branching system with reddish fungi attached. Control by removal of infested area and usage of paints or copper base chemicals. Antracnose Disease (Collectotricum spp) attack coffee fruit and beans with black color and reduce the quality. White Root Disease attack the coffee root system to rot. Control by removal of infested tree and the usage of chemical such as triadmefon at suitable rate. The pests for coffee was Fruit Borer (Hypohermes hempei), Leaf Eater (Cephynodes hyles) , Kumbang Koboi/ Cockchafer (Apogonia spp.), Teritip (Lacanium spp.) , Nematod (Pratilenchus coffeee) , Musang and few others. The insect controlled by chemicals and IPM control method. Control of musang that eat ripe fruit by bait and shooting. The coffee area are very shady so that a lot of mosquito able to disturb farmers doing their in farms.

Liberica flowers matured after 8-13 months and Robusta variety took 9-10 months to ripe stage and ready for harvesting. For Liberica variety there was 2 peak harvesting season (Jan -Febuary) and April - Jun each year but for Robusta variety has 3 peak season that was in Jan-Feb, April-Jun and October-December. Coffee collected manually by plucking ripe coffee fruit with red color and stored in dry place. Drying of coffee beans as fast as possible able to increase beans quality for better aroma and quality. The coffee making process was very long form cracking, drying, frying , powder processing till packaging and grading. There were many grading system for coffee produce. According to my analysis there was FAMA who has the coffee grading system in Malaysia. The grade were FKB1, FKB 2, FKB 3 with their specification. Most of Malaysian Coffee is for domestic market and only small amount exported to Singapore. Potential yield of coffee in Malaysia fro 6 mt/ha/year for first year able to reach 20 mt/ha a year during peak age and went down to average 12-15 mt/ha/year towards older stage. The study shown that the coffee beans price range between RM 0.30 - RM 0.60 /kg ex-farm with an average of RM 0.45 perkilogram. The recent coffee beans priced about RM 0.70 - RM 1.20 /kg . This price considered stable for many years eventhough the production cost increase many times.

Most traditional farmers says that they does not want to grow coffee because nobody to pluck the beans, low income , price not very good and less profit compare to growing oil palm. It that true the coffee growing industry in Malaysia is a 'sun set industry'?. may be it is true due to the huge import bill of fresh coffee beans from neighbouring countries such as from Indonesia. The introduction of Word Standard caffein drinks such NESCAFE affect traditional local coffee drinkers. We can discuss the future of coffee industry in Malaysia in other forum...


Related articles from this blog:
1. Teh (Clcik here)
2. Cola (Click here)
3. Coconut (Click here)
4. Air Kelapa Muda (Click here)
5. Pokok Ketum (Click here)

M Anem

Senior Agronomist,
Coffee Grou[ Farming Project,
Kg Taboh Lama,
Kg Bundu Tuhan,
Ranau, Sabah,
(Updated on 8 Mac 2015)

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