Coffee Sourcing in Kalashnikov’s Land…
In the controversial article “The Most Dangerous Cup of Coffee in the World“ (Wall Street Journal, The Most Dangerous Cup 14/10/2016) we could recently read about a jungle-clad, coffee-rich province in Eastern Congo which attracts artisanal roasters and coffee adventurists from USA and Europe for coffee sourcing. Some of the challenges of doing business in Congo include death threats, kidnapping and extortion.
…is not an Option for Nat Coffee
Myanmar has 7 coffee growing areas, 3 of which are currently affected by ethnic tensions/conflicts.
- Kachin State
- Rakhine State
- Shan State (north)
For Nat Coffee, doing business in war-torn areas is not an option. Despite the fact that some great coffee qualities may be found in conflict areas, we believe that is it not the right set-up for business activities, nor does it fundamentally add to development and peace to the region.
Doing business in conflict areas are costly: a lot of money is spent on highly secured 4×4 vehicles, bribes, administration, permits etc. The profit calculation will be successful if base coffee purchase prices will be reduced to a minimum. On the consumer’s side, a high product price will be legitimitized by the rarity of coffee and its special “war story”.
Selection Criteria for Ethical Coffee Sourcing
We are taking the following criteria into account when selecting a place for business activities:
- history of coffee cultivation
- political stability
- respect of labour rights
- transparency on land tenure rights
- potential interest of young coffee entrepreneurs to engage in the sector
- motivation of famers building the future of sustainable coffee cultivation
- equal participation of women and men
All of these reflections promote a holistic approach of an ethically successful intervention.
During our coffee tour across Myanmar, we will present exciting first-hand stories from its coffee regions. The first portrait will be dedicated to Chin State, a sparsely populated and one of the least developed regions in Myanmar.
Stay tuned on our blog: http://www.natcoffee.com/blog
“During a visit in December 2015, I stayed in Chin State, a sparsely populated and one of the least developed regions in Myanmar. Wild coffee is grown on the foot of the mountain Nat Mat Taung, and some rumors claim that Nat Coffee got its name from there.
Women with facial tattoos and colorful traditional clothing wear beads around their necks while working in their home garden.“It is peaceful here, the only troublemaker is the elephant“, one farmer woman told me. “He trampled down the fence and destroyed the coffee plantation.”