Nespresso is working with worker-owned co-ops in South Sudan to launch the newly independent country’s first coffee export.
The news follows years of conflict which have disrupted production in the country, one of the only places in the world where coffee still grows in the wild.
Since South Sudan was founded in 2011, the Nescafé-owned Nespresso has been working with non-profit organisation TechnoServe and local producers to establish three new coffee co-ops, which have received support to enable farmer mobilisation and infrastructure development, three wet mills and two coffee nurseries.
Based on the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, the initiative involves around 500 farmers. According to a recent TechnoServe report, farmers delivering their coffee to the co-operative wet mills have earned a 40% premium over the local market price.
The name of the coffee, Suluja ti South Sudan, means ‘Beginning of South Sudan’ in the indigenous Kakwa language, and is the country’s first significant non-oil export in a generation.
William Warshauer, president and CEO of TechnoServe, says the coffee represents the huge commitment of South Sudan’s farmers to rebuild their coffee industry and improve the lives of their families and communities, following widespread conflict.
“In partnership with Nespresso, these efforts can not only improve incomes for thousands of farmers, but build an important agricultural export in a country heavily reliant on oil for income,” he said.
“As a nonprofit that develops business solutions to poverty, TechnoServe is proud to work with Nespresso on a project that shares South Sudan’s terrific coffee with the world while working with its farmers to build a better future.”
Nespresso has invested more than CHF 700,000 (£474,000) in reviving the coffee industry in the Yei region of South Sudan, and aims to invest CHF 2.5m (£1.7m) and expand the program to include several thousand farmers by 2020.
“Nespresso’s goal is to source the highest quality coffee in the world. We believe that the only way to continue to deliver quality and consistency to customers is to protect the supply of our coffees,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, Nespresso CEO.
“Our experience has shown us that the best way to do this is to build a more environmentally sustainable and financially equitable outcome for farmers.”
A limited amount of Suluja ti South Sudan is available now to Nespresso Club Members.