We have a wonderful new addition to our existing coffee range from India, the Araku Valley organic and fairly traded ground coffee. This is a great tasting, silky smooth, medium bodied coffee with an inspirational story behind it.
The Adivasi tribes living on the Ghat Mountain range of Eastern India were considered some of the most disadvantaged people in India. Their land was severely deforested when India was a British Colony, which generated erosion and soil degradation. This destruction lead to poverty as people heavily depended on these forests for sustenance and survival. With little means to a livelihood, many lived on the brink of starvation.
The Naandi foundation, an Indian organisation working to overcome poverty, has supported Adivasi farmers in the area for over a decade. To help increase the daily revenue of local farmers the Naandi foundation supported them to form a ‘Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers’ co-operative. The foundation also assisted local coffee growers with production and marketing strategy to improve access to the international market. Now all coffee exported internationally under Naandi’s label ‘Araku’ is certified as organic and Fairtrade, which has significantly increased the income for local coffee farmers.
Araku coffee growers use bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides where needed, and encourage natural predators such as spiders to get rid of pests. They also grow food crops to provide a nutritionally rich food basket for the family, including fruits such as papaya, mango, mud apples (chikoo) and oranges. The co-operative put back the Fairtrade premiums they receive into village development projects such as safe drinking water, ambulances and maternity care. The continued hard work of the Araku farmers enables many of them to earn Rs 100,000 per year from the export of processed coffee.
What has made the Araku project successful and replicable is that it isn’t an exclusive agriculture or livelihood intervention. It is a model that integrates the needs of a family, community and commerce. Araku Valley website.