Nilgiris Coffee Community
Slow Food Nilgiris Coffee Community was created by the shared effort of Keystone Foundation, Aadhimalai, Black Baza Coffee and the producers from the Irula and Kurumba communities. They are the shareholders of Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Ltd and are working with Keystone Foundation and Slow Food.
The Slow Food Nilgiris coffee community is part of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition since 2021.
Their aim is to work towards the development of indigenous people in the country, particularly, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) and undertake processing including preserving, drying, freezing, venting, canning and packaging, warehousing, cold storage, service for the products of its members. Also, to cultivate all kinds of organic farming products and non-timber forest produce (NTFPs) and to purchase, take lease or acquire any land or plantation or estates and to work and develop.
Also, creating opportunity to the tribal communities to market their farm and forest harvest through processing, value adding, human resource developments and with fair trade principles. Towards Securing sustainable livelihood and sound environment to the tribal communities of NBR.
The three main types of varieties grown in this area are Coffee Arabica, Coffee Robusta and Coffee Liberica are the three varieties grown widely in Nilgiris.
Keystone Foundation is encouraging coffee cultivation amongst Kurumba and Irula communities in Coonoor and Kotagiri taluka. Every indigenous household retains certain volume of coffee bean for their own consumption and the rest is sold in market. Almost all the process is still done manually and many traditional customs and religious ceremonies originate through this beverage which is drunk in the form of ‘Kaapi’.
Coffee Variety: Wild Robusta
Farming system: The coffee is grown in the shade in an agroforestry system, intercropped with other trees such as: jack fruit, pepper, Lemon,Soap nut,Orange, Mango, Gauva, custard apple, silver oak, millets.
PGS initiative: At the beginning of 2022 they formed the Ethical Committee and signed the PGS pledge. The Guarantee group carried out the field visits to the producers in March 2022, completing the PGS process for 2022.
The Ethical Committee is formed by:
- NGO- Jyotsna from Keystone Foundation
- Producer Representative- Jestin Pauls from Aadhimalai
- Farmer Producer – Kaliappan a shareholder in Aadhimalai
- Buyer – Suganthi from Last Forest Enterprises
- Technical Person – Arshiya from Black Baza Coffee
Terra Madre batch °1: 350kg
Country: TamilNadu, India
Region: Arakode Region (Kokkode Village, Bangalapadigai Village,Vakkanamaram Village, Samaigudal Village)
Producers: 10 small-holder producers
Variety: Wild robusta
Altitude: 950 to 1500m
Process: Washed at the production center and the villages.
Pictures from: Jestin Pauls