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Giving Compass' Take:
• Vietnam is one of the largest producers of coffee in the world and K'Ho Coffee is changing the image of production by integrating sustainable practices and giving back to the farmers and community.
• How can other countries that produce coffee learn from sustainable practices?
The entrepreneurs behind K’Ho Coffee, a cooperative of local coffee farmers nestled in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, are working to change the face of coffee production in Vietnam. Rolan Co Lieng and husband Josh Guikema formed K’Ho Coffee in 2012. Producing high-quality Arabica beans, this farm-to-cup operation is working to put the value of every bean sold back into the hands of the farmers and community that produced it. Co Lieng and Guikema are also integrating sustainable practices into their coffee production.
Coffee production has been part of the K’Ho ethnic minority tribal population for generations. As Co Lieng and Guikema explain to Food Tank, “the first seeds of the coffee variety Arabica Bourbon were originally brought by French ships to Indochina by way of the Island of Bourbon. Inhabitants of the high mountainous lands in Central Vietnam, the K’Ho tribespeople began cultivating the coffee trees and passed the seeds and tradition through generations.”
Eventually, Co Lieng—a fourth-generation K’Ho coffee farmer—and Guikema formed K’Ho Coffee. The two describe the origins of the cooperative: “in 2012 we set up a small coffee wet mill and started drying our hand-picked clean coffee on parchment on raised beds in front of the family house. Other farmers joined in the work together and formed a producers cooperative.” As per Co Lieng and Guikema, the cooperative aims to keep more of the value from what the farmers produce in the community, and their on-site processing creates opportunities and employment along the supply chain. The heirloom Arabica seeds and unique growing conditions result in high-quality coffee beans.
Read the full article on sustainable coffee production in Vietnam by Rennie Jordan at Food Tank.