Nespresso and Partner Technoserve Set to Revive High Quality Coffee Production in South Sudan

May 26, 2015 11:00 AM ET

May 27, 2015 /3BL Media/ - Sourcing a unique coffee for consumers
Nespresso has been investing in reviving the production of high quality South Sudanese coffee, in collaboration with the international nonprofit organisation TechnoServe. This will allow the company to offer its consumers a new unique coffee experience.

The company’s two-year upfront investment of about CHF 700’000 since 2011 has demonstrated the potential for commercial coffee production in the country.

“With this ambitious project, we wish to bring our consumers a new exceptional coffee experience, directly from the cradle of coffee,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso. “The high quality Robusta we have found in South Sudan has truly unique aromas.”

South Sudan is the only place in the world where wild coffee, Arabica and Robusta, grows. Coffee originates from this area.

Creating shared value through the diversification of economic opportunities
South Sudan has a long coffee history, but its coffee industry was largely destroyed during the civil war. The opportunity to have a positive impact in South Sudan is significant. Coffee would provide much needed income for thousands of farmers and their families and has the potential to play an important role in helping to diversify the economic base in the country. This will also contribute to establishing a safe environment.

“Our investment in reviving high quality coffee production in South Sudan will contribute to create a new economy and will have a positive impact on coffee farmers and their families. It will help them secure their future by building new sources of sustainable business,” added Jean-Marc Duvoisin. “This project is truly about creating shared value both for our consumers and South Sudanese farmers.”

Through Nespresso’s and TechnoServe’s collaboration, the three first coffee cooperatives of South Sudan have been established.Their wet mills to process the coffee have been constructed in the Yei region. Central wet mills will play a key role in improving the quality of the coffee and will give it a distinctive aroma profile. Thanks to this processing method, Nespresso can buy high quality washed Robusta, a new category of coffee in South Sudan, while at the same time taking advantage of the intrinsic quality of the local Robusta coffee plants that have survived the long war period. Central wet mills will also bring benefits to the farmers, such as the reduction of labour and time intensive work.

“Thanks to TechnoServe and Nespresso, which supported setting up a wet mill, it has given me, as a woman, less hard work – especially hulling [removing coffee beans from dried cherries]. 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, South Sudan.

Around 300 farmers have integrated the three newly created coffee cooperatives, which have received support to enable farmer mobilization, registration and quality processing, as well as trainings to form a well-designed and –managed coffee cooperative.

As part of the project, TechnoServe, on behalf of Nespresso, is providing trainings to smallholder farmers to help start creating coffee nurseries, plant coffee trees and improve their agricultural practices to increase their productivity and the quality of their coffee.

 “When TechnoServe started to come here and farmers heard how much they can make from coffee, it has awakened them,” said Cosmas, chairman of the Inutu cooperative.

Nespresso has managed to source several tons of South Sudanese washed Robusta parchment coffee in 2013, 2014 and again in early 2015.

Laying the foundation for the future
“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 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.”

"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.”

As part of the expansion of its AAA Sustainable Quality™Program in Africa, Nespresso will invest another CHF 2.5 million in the coming years in South Sudan.

Nespresso and TechnoServe hope to support 2,000 smallholder coffee farmers in the next couple of years, provided that the project can attract additional funding from private and public donors, through a focus on improving yields and coffee quality through the establishment of central wet mills and by providing training to coffee farmers, while developing commercial channels to enable the sale and export of South Sudanese coffee.

December 31, 2014 marked the end of the startup phase of this ambitious project that will create much positive impact in South Sudan. After 18 months of support, Nespresso and TechnoServe have laid the foundation for the resurgence of a vibrant, inclusive coffee industry in South Sudan.