Specialty Coffee and Indigenous Peoples Around the World

9 August is International Day of Indigenous Peoples. It is time to thank all the indigenous farmers for the better cup of coffee they give to us.

Every year on August 9, we celebrate the International Day of the Indigenous Peoples around the world. The commemorative event is set by the United Nations. The UN adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. The official representatives from around the world in the UN have chosen the date 9 of August to mark the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples in Geneva in 1982.

Meet the indigenous peoples

There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world. They live in 90 countries. In Europe, interestingly, their number is the smallest among all continents. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population. Unfortunately, they account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Indigenous peoples, also known in some regions as First peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.

Coffee plantation early in the morning, among the damp mist in Honduras.

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems. Those are related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

For centuries, indigenous peoples have sought recognition for their identity. They protect their way of life and the right to land, territory and natural resources. But societies continue violating their rights to this day. As a result, indigenous peoples around the world are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people today.

It is critical for countries to marshal the resources to respond to their needs, honour their contributions and respect their inalienable rights.

Antonio Guterres, UN’s Secretary General
Drying coffee under the sun of Brazil.

Indigenous Peoples and Covid-19

Covid-19 has a devastating effect on the world’s indigenous population. From their first contact with the invaders of their lands until today, indigenous people suffer from diseases brought from elsewhere against which they have no immunity. We are at a critical point where the world must organize its resources to meet the needs of these people. We must honor their contribution and to respect their inalienable rights.

Scientists have not establised with absolute accuracy the origin of the new Coronavirus Covid-19. However, the link between the pandemic and the damage to nature is obvious. Many experts at the world’s leading research centers has feared a possible pandemic long before the virus appeared. Byt they were not alone. Indigenous peoples have had this fear for a long time now..

More than 86% of indigenous peoples globally work in the informal economy, compared to 66% for their non-indigenous counterparts.

Thanks to their traditional knowledge and connection with nature, they know that the destruction of our natural habitat is a fertile basis for the development of diseases. And as we fight the pandemic, it is now more important than ever to protect indigenous peoples and their knowledge.

Their lands are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity. They live in natural harmony with nature. Although many of them may not have heard of sustainable development, they live by it. That is why we can learn from them how to restore balance in our relationship with nature. And at the same time reduce the risk of future pandemics.

Coffee bush in bloom in Brazil.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020

Indigenous peoples are seeking their solutions to the pandemic. They actively oppose it based on the knowledge of their traditions. Among them are already well-known practices such as voluntary isolation and closure of communities to outsiders. And thus once again show us their ability to adapt.

That is why this year the theme of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples is related to Covid-19 and the resilience of indigenous peoples.

Coffee and indigenous people

In the coffee belt there are a variety of tribal communities. Some of them are engaged in the production of our favorite drink.

There are many small-scale coffee farms in Guatemala, for example. Honduras, Mexico, Taiwan, Guyana, the Philippines, Brazil are just a few of the countries where indigenous people are also employed in the coffee industry.

The Surui Paíter people in the state of Rondonia, Brazil, for example, grow their own high-quality robusta. As the practices there follow the traditional agriculture, the production is organic. According to FUNAI, the organization that defends the rights of Brazil’s indigenous people, indigenous farmers there receive three times the price of the state average coffee price.

Farmers in Honduras sort out the coffee cherries right after the harvest.

Indigenous peoples are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty compared to their non-indigenous counterparts. Globally, 47% of all indigenous peoples in employment have no education, compared to 17% of their non-indigenous counterparts. This gap is even wider for women.

In western Honduras, for example, a number of small indigenous farmers have founded the Lenka Cooperative. Its representatives are descendants of the Lenka Indian tribe. Together, they produce certified high-quality specialty coffee.

Organizations like Fairtrade work with some indigenous farmers to help them achieve a fair price for their work eeforts. Part of the coffee grown by indigenous farmers has a certificate for organic production. This is due to the fact that in their territories are used only natural methods of cultivation and agriculture for centuries.

DABOV Specialty Coffee and indigenous people

We are proud and humbled by the fact that this year we have a certain contribution to the well-being of the indigenous people of one coffee region. As you know, we are anxiously awaiting four coffees from India. Those coffees ranked 1st to 4th place in the Gems of Araku competition in February this year. They are all produced by farmers from indigenous tribal communities from the Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh state.

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