Video: Reviving the Coffee Culture in South Sudan

September 05, 2014

Nespresso and TechnoServe are partnering in South Sudan to build a coffee industry that could provide a sustainable source of income for thousands of rural families.

A version of this post was originally published by Nespresso.

South Sudan has a long coffee history, but its coffee industry was largely destroyed during the civil war. Coffee represents a significant opportunity for the country: it can provide much needed income and security for thousands of farmers and their families, and has the potential to play an important role in helping to diversify South Sudan's economic base.

In July 2013, Nespresso and TechnoServe announced a collaboration to revive the production of high-quality South Sudanese coffee, building on a two-year investment from Nespresso that demonstrated the potential for commercial coffee production in the country.

It’s been exciting to partner with rural communities and Nespresso to start the work of building a coffee industry that could provide a sustainable source of income for 50,000 families in the future.

Paul stewart,
technoserve's regional director for Coffee initiative

Since launching the partnership, South Sudan’s first three coffee cooperatives have been established in the Yei region. The program has supported the cooperatives in constructing wet mills to process the coffee. Central wet mills will play a key role in improving the quality of the coffee. Thanks to this new processing method, Nespresso can buy high-quality washed robusta, a new category of coffee in South Sudan, while the farmers benefit from more efficient processing.

“Thanks to TechnoServe and Nespresso, which supported setting up a wet mill, it has given me, as a woman, less work – especially hulling. I was using a grinding stone or a mortar, but now we are using the wet mill for processing,” said Hellena Atiku, a farmer from Inutu Cooperative.

Around 300 farmers have already been integrated into the three newly created cooperatives, which have received support to enable farmer mobilization, registration and quality processing. The program has also provided business training on how to form a well-designed and well-managed coffee cooperative.

“In South Sudan, it’s been exciting to partner with rural communities and Nespresso to start the work of building a coffee industry that could provide a sustainable source of income for 50,000 families in the future,” said Paul Stewart, Regional Director for the Coffee Initiative at TechnoServe. “When I talk to farmers, they all share the dream of growing coffee along with their food crops to provide much needed cash to pay for school fees and other basic needs. But infrastructure to process and export the coffee is needed to make this a reality.”

As part of the expansion of Nespresso’s AAA Program in Africa, Nespresso will invest about $4.3 million in the coming years in South Sudan.

"During the last decade, I traveled to South Sudan on a number of occasions in order to support the people's aspirations for peace after suffering through a devastating war that cost over two million lives,” said Nespresso brand ambassador George Clooney. “Now a new war has begun, and I strongly support the peace process to end it. But work must also be done now to prepare for peace, and that includes creating economic opportunities for the people of South Sudan and diversifying the economy of the country away from an exclusive reliance on oil. In that context, the investment by Nespresso and TechnoServe in South Sudan's coffee sector is providing much-needed income for thousands of farmers and their families living in coffee communities. The investment is also helping to lay a foundation for a future South Sudan built on peace and prosperity, where wealth is created and shared for the benefit of the people.”

The initial program aims to support 2,000 smallholder coffee farmers through a focus on improving yields and coffee quality by establishing central wet mills and by providing training. The program also aims to develop commercial channels to enable the sale and export of South Sudanese coffee.

TechnoServe and Nespresso will leverage this initial two-year investment in South Sudan to attract additional funding from private and public donors, with the aim of scaling up the program from 2016 to 2020, reaching up to 9,000 farmers.


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