STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 5

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24 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 5, 2016 (October/November) S By Dan Bolton outh Sudan's robusta coffee is thick, black and strong, flavored at times with cardamom or ginger, and served Turkish style. The region is one of the few where wild coffee can be found. It is a crop of hope in a land that has suffered immense misfortune. Western multinationals, led by Nestlé-Nespresso, last year brought the first washed South Sudan coffee to market in decades. Nespresso fittingly named its product Suluja ti South Sudan (in the Kakwa language Suluja ti means beginning). Quantities were small but farmers there receive 40-50% more for their coffee than in the local market. Nespresso has invested $2.5 million since 2011 in a collaborative venture with TechnoServe, a non-profit organization (NGO) that has organized six coffee co-op- eratives and built wet mills at six locations near Yei. The mills are operated by a local entrepreneur. Nespresso's AAA Sustainable Quality Program assists 700 farmers and anticipates adding a couple thousand more through 2020. Together the co-operatives have raised more than 27,000 coffee tree seedlings at several nurseries. Once a major coffee producing region, and home to 12 million people, today it is rare to find green coffee exported from Sudan due to social strife that has resulted in the deaths and injuries to and estimated 2.5 million people. Sequential civil wars dis- placed four million within its boundaries and sent 400,000 fleeing to nearby countries. South Sudan gained its independence in 2011 but remains desperately poor and en- tirely dependent on oil for foreign exchange currency. Funds from less volatile sources are needed to invest in improving the welfare of its citizens who earn an average $1,886 per year. The destruction of the nation's infrastructure is massive. Only 40 miles of paved road remain in the entire country. Modern essentials from banking and transportation to security are fragile. Yet the coffee remains, growing abundantly on abandoned farms. Five years ago Nespresso dispatched Alexis Rodriguez to assess the region's cof- fee quality potential. He returned with enthusiasm, reporting that coffee farmers were Nespresso began investing five years ago in a successful project to reintroduce the world to the finest coffees from South Sudan. Revitalizing the war-torn country's coffee industry is underway. A Crop of Hope A South Sudanese coffee worker tosses drying beans Jean-Marc Duvoisin, Nespresso c.e.o.

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