Nespresso launches coffee range sourced from eastern Congo

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Nespresso, part of food giant Nestle , said on Wednesday it had launched a new range of organic coffee sourced from the fertile volcanic slopes of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a former growing region blighted by decades of violence and war.

Coffee was one of Congo’s largest exports before the country plunged into civil war in the late 1990s. A constellation of armed groups continue to control large swathes of territory in the east, forcing many farmers to flee homes and abandon crops.

Neighbouring Rwanda shares similar rich soils. Its stable economic and political environment has allowed its coffee industry to bounce back and flourish, despite a genocide in 1994.

Congo’s coffee production has yet to fully recover since contracting ten-fold, Nespresso said. The company had helped 450 farmers in Congo improve the quality and productivity of their harvests since last year, and hopes to extend the programme to more than 5,000 farmers in eastern Congo by 2024.

“We are committed to providing long term support that will help Congolese coffee farmers, and their communities, to rebuild their coffee industry and their local economies,” said chief executive Guillaume Le Cunff in a statement. (Reporting by Hereward Holland)