After four years of independence, South Sudan is finally slated to start exporting products from one of its most promising industries: coffee. For many, though, the idea of a cup of South Sudanese coffee may leave a bitter taste in their mouths—and not because of the flavor.
As Modern Farmer reports, “the very first 100-percent South Sudanese coffee to be exported from the country will be sold later this month, albeit only in France.” The progress comes from an investment made by a nonprofit company called TechnoServe and Nespresso, who created three cooperatives for coffee bean growers in South Sudan. Thanks to this help, Nespresso will be the first brand to sell 100 percent South Sudanese coffee, marketing pods with the name “Suluja ti South Sudan”—which translates from the native Kakwa language to “beginning of South Sudan.”
However, outside of coffee, problems abound in the nascent nation that continues to be in a state of civil war. As Modern Farmer points out, supporting South Sudanese industries may weigh on some shoppers’ consciences, being that the country is getting far more press for the atrocities committed there than the promise of its coffee regions, which show similarities to those in well-known neighboring coffee countries like Kenya and Ethiopia.
Regardless of the politics behind the issue, though, South Sudan finally exporting coffee is a noteworthy event. Perhaps finding a foothold in an industry can serve as a step to improving other problems in the region as well.