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Dangerous grounds

From the January 2016 issue.

Nespresso’s Daniel Weston speaks to Global Coffee Report about the risks and responsibility of investing in South Sudan’s coffee industry.

The world’s youngest country is infamous for conflict and oil.

Decades of war in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced more than two million, and caused chronic food shortages.

Until recently, it had also virtually wiped out a farming industry for some of the world’s finest coffee.

When Nespresso launched Suluja ti South Sudan last October, it was the four-year-old country’s first ever coffee export, and first significant non-oil export in over a decade.

“What we have found here is just an incredible coffee,” Nespresso Director of Creating Shared Value Daniel Weston tells GCR.

Getting it to market, however, was no easy task.

As part of its AAA Sustainable Quality Program, Nespresso invested nearly US$2.6 million to train more than 500 farmers, replant trees, and set up wet mills in a region of the country believed by some to be the birthplace of coffee.

“Our investment represents a real opportunity in a country where there are few opportunities,” Weston says.

The very limited edition capsules of Robusta coffee are only available in France. The brand doesn’t expect to see a return on the coffee for several years. 

Weston, however, hopes Nespresso’s long-term commitment will not only help revive the war-torn country’s coffee industry, but potentially be an agent for peace.

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