Araku tribals fight deforestation threat with gourmet coffee

Bangkok: Once forbidden by colonialists from cultivating coffee, indigenous people in southern India have won a prestigious award for their bean, which they farm while fighting deforestation.

Araku Valley Coffee won gold in the Prix Epicures OR Award in Paris earlier this month. The beans are grown by Adivasis – or “original inhabitants” – of southern Andhra Pradesh state through a cooperative set up by the Naandi Foundation.

The organic farming model has benefited more than 45,000 Adivasi families, with profits from the high-grade coffee put into schools, healthcare and other needs of the remote community, according to Manoj Kumar, who founded Naandi.