1. Coffee & American Revolution
  2. Coffee: geographical factors
  3. Brazil: Sao Paulo
  4. Coffee: Kerala

In the previous article, we talked about the geographical factors affecting the location of the tea plantation industry in India and China. Moving to the next topic:

Coffee & American Revolution

  • Initially the Europeans that had settled in USA, consumed tea imported from Britain.
  • But then King George imposed heavy tax on tea exported to USA => Boston tea party revolt + American war of independence=> tea supply halted= Americans switched to Coffee and thus USA became major market for Brazil and Columbian coffee cultivators.
Coffee: geographical factors
factor impact
  • Coffee needs to be protected from direct sunlight, especially when plant is young.
  • in Yemen / Ethiopia annual rainfall is less than 20 inches but still coffee grows well because thick sea mist=provides moisture and protects from excessive heat.
  • Coffee likes abundant moisture but hates waterlogging=>hilly slopes receiving orographic rainfall are best suited for coffee.
  • Hill slops facing the sea=even better, because they benefit from the mist and sea breezes=cooler. (and coffee hates direct sunlight/heat)
  • Berry has to be picked by hand, sorting the ripe berries from leaves, twigs etc. also needs patience and skill.
  • Since coffee has to be grown in hillslopes, large scale mechanization =not possible (unlike wheat in Canada or Corn/Cotton in US)
  • Coffee loses flavour quickly after being roasted. Therefore, only preliminary processing done in exporting country, and roasting done in the importing country.

Let’s check some important coffee growing regions and factor responsible.

Brazil: Sao Paulo

Map Brazil Coffee plantations
Coffee grown in the North-Eastern region of Brazil. Brazilian Coffee plantations are called “fazendas” (because in Portuguese, Fazenda=farm)

Factor Impact
  • volcanic soil known as terra roxa (red soil)= rich in minerals, potash and humus
  • soil remains productive for many years of coffee cultivation without requiring additional fertilizers.
  • in Brazil tall leguminous plants are used to provide shade + enrich the soil with nitrogen fixing bacteria
  • Brazilian current=mist=keeps temperature moderate.
  • moderate temp= not much shade needed + lower occurrence of diseases
  • Special railways passing through hills and tunnels to connect plantations to port cities of Rio De Janeiro etc.
  • they move from one estate to another
  • Their wages are low, but they are allowed to grow maize, vegetables, rear poultry for personal use in the fazendas.
Market Universal demand, except where tea is the main beverage.
  • in 1870s, a blight disease destroyed Sri Lankan Coffee plantation, hence Brazil took the opportunity to fillup the vaccum in world market.
  • They cleared the virgin forest and started coffee plantations. When soil started losing fertility they’d simply destroy more forest and move interior to make another plantation => low unit production cost because no fertilizer used.

Coffee: Kerala

Kerala=> Western Ghats + Nilgiri Hills region = suited for both Tea+coffee.

Factor impact
  • red soil=best suited
  • Hill areas of Kozhikode, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kottayam=no stagnant water
  • Coffee grown on Northern and Eastern slopes of the ghat (Because coffee hates direct sunlight)
  • Moderating effect of Lakshadweep sea= temp stays ~25 throughout the year.
Transport Kochi port
Market Kochi port to (mostly) Italy+local demand in South India

Mock Questions

5 marks/100 words
Explain the reason(s) for each of the following:

  1. Sugarcane is more economical to produce cane sugar beet.
  2. more cane sugar enters the world trader then beet sugar
  3. The invention of chocolate making was the greatest single factor in rapid expansion of cocoa cultivation
  4. chocolate making factories are located in importing countries rather than in cocoa-producing countries

10 marks /200 words

  1. Tropical and Sub-tropical regions are the chief suppliers of beverages to the temperate markets. Comment
  2. Plantation agriculture is essentially limited to the tropical and subtropical areas. What are the factors responsible for this particular concentration?
  3. Analyze the factor responsible for underdevelopment of Plantation economy near tropical regions.
  4. Examine the factors influencing commercial production of rubber in Malaysia or Tobacco in USA.
  5. Explain the geographical factors responsible for large-scale commercial cultivation of any one of the following pairs:
    1. Tea and Coffee
    2. sugarcane and sugar beet
  6. consider the basis of regional specialization in tropical beverages with special reference to any one major beverage crop.
  7. for any selected area, examine the relationship between development of coffee or tea because of following factors
    1. climate
    2. relief and drainage
    3. labour Supply
    4. government policy

For more, visit Mrunal.org/GEOGRAPHY