Monday, 20 February 2017

Araku coffee to debut in Paris market this week

Araku coffee to debut in Paris market this week


TOI AT 20 FEB 2017


  1. Araku coffee was originally a nonprofit venture supported by Naandi Foundation
  2. It was the brainchild of Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu and Anji Reddy, founder of Dr Reddy's.
  3. Araku coffee has already got a geographical indication (GI) tag.

MUMBAI: One hears of cooperative farming where government, NGOs or corporate entities provide resources or knowhow to support cultivation. But in the picturesque and protected Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh, a unique agri enterprise has taken shape. Tribals from this region, with the backing of four business leaders, are growing top-notch quality coffee, which will make its debut overseas this week under an exotic brand.

Anand Mahindra (chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra), Kris Gopalakrishnan (co-founder, Infosys), Satish Reddy (chairman, Dr Reddy's Laboratories) and Rajendra Prasad Maganti (chairman, Soma Enterprise, a construction company) have joined hands to form an enterprise that will launch Araku coffee's first store in Paris. For the 150-odd tribal communities living in the Maoist-infested belt, the global debut is a big step forward.

Until 15 years ago, their life was dependent only on collecting forest produce. A predominantly tribal area (including the Bagathas, Valmikis, Kondus and Poorjas) in Visakhapatnam district, the Araku region is classified as an agency area; the government has created a special developmental and funding plan for locals.

All the land here belongs to the government and a tribal is entitled to get land as much as s/he can till for free, to earn a living. Coffee cultivation is not new to the area—the British did it and the government continues to grow the beans under its own brand, but it was only in the recent past that tribals tried their hand at it on a large scale.

From 1,000 acres some years ago, the land under coffee production has gone up to 20,000 acres. The four investors have stepped in to assist them in increasing bean production by roping in global experts.

"We want to make Araku a gourmet coffee brand, acceptable in global markets and that's why we chose Paris for the debut," Mahindra told TOI, adding that the profits made from the venture will be ploughed back to improve the quality of the farmers' lives.

Araku will be sold under five variants with the most expensive stock priced around Rs 7,000 a kg. The steep price can be justified by the fact that this is perhaps the first time in the world that coffee is being produced using techniques similar to those in wine making. Like unique tastes of different wines identified by the soil in which the grapes are grown, the variants of Araku coffee also draw their flavours from the 'terroir' or unique environment.

"Araku coffee is unique because of its complex terroir and that's why premium. Everybody wants a simple life but they pay for complex things. Luxury is all about complexity," Mahindra said.

Araku coffee was originally a nonprofit venture supported by Naandi Foundation, the brainchild of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and Anji Reddy, founder of Dr Reddy's. The late Reddy brought Mahindra into Naandi and the chairman of the auto major, along with the other three investors, soon transformed the social enterprise into a for-profit venture.


GCC Promote Araku Organic Coffee Inaugurated By Tribal Welfare Minister

Visakhapatnam | Wednesday, Nov 9 2016

Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare and Social Welfare Minister R.Kishore Babu today Inaugurated the organic coffee grown by Girijan farmers in the picturesque Araku valley of Visakhapatnam and said that the Smart City is making a mark not only in the country but internationally as well, and all efforts will be made to promote it in an aggressive manner. Speaking after Inaugurating the Araku Organic coffee here, He released two new products of the Girijan Co-operative Corporation (GCC), a state government undertaking. The products are Vaisakhi Coffee and Kumkum (saffron) powder. "Coffee cultivation is bringing light into the lives of Girijans in the Eastern Ghats in the district. The state government has taken up a project to bring one lakh acres under coffee cultivation in the district and Rs 526 crore would be spent on it," he said. He lauded the GCC for procuring coffee directly from the Girijan farmers and marketing it on its own, eliminating middlemen. He said Araku coffee would be promoted under the brand name Vaisakhi and there was good demand for kumkum powder. "The GCC has already received orders worth Rs 10 lakh from the famous Srisailam Siva temple in Kurnool district, and we expect big orders from other temples in the state and outside as well,"he said. He also said the state government was giving the GCC functional autonomy and "in the past few years the turnover of the GCC has risen almost tripled from Rs 90 crore in 2013. For the current year we have set a target of Rs 365 crore and Rs 155 crore has already been achieved. In the next five years, the turnover of GCC should cross Rs 1,000 crore." Araku MLA G. Sarveswara Rao said organic products such as turmeric and coffee procured from the Eastern Ghats inhabited by the Girijans, should be promoted in the domestic and international markets. GCC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director A.S.P.S Ravi Prakash said the Corporation would strive to increase the income levels of Girijans and "GCC has waived farm debts of Girijan farmers to the extent of Rs 1.8 crores."UNI BSR CNR1330


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