18 December 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 01/17/2007, 00.00


    Illegal coffee growing destroying animal habitat in Sumatra

    About 20 per cent of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park has been stripped to give way to coffee plantations. WWF accuses coffee multinationals of involvement. Rare mammals are at risk of extinction.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – While the jungles of Sumatra were being stripped by land-hungry settlers over the past 30 years, the island's remote southern mountains remained a stronghold for some of Asia's last wild tigers and the critically endangered hairy rhinoceros.

    But having survived the incursions of poachers, loggers and farmers, one of the last great tracts of protected virgin rainforest in Southeast Asia is being destroyed at an alarming rate thanks to the booming coffee export trade, according to conservationists.

    They have estimated that about 20 per cent of the breathtakingly beautiful 340,000-hectare Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park has already been hacked down for illicit plantations.

    They fear that unless action is taken quickly, the park's tigers, elephants and rhinos could vanish within 10 years because of the world's craving for caffeine.

    A report published today by WWF called "Gone in an Instant" blames international coffee companies for buying illicit beans, often unknowingly, from middlemen who abuse a lack of regulations to mix those from the 20,000 tonnes grown illegally inside the park with legitimate crops from elsewhere in Lampung province.

    The global conservation body said the low-grade robusta beans grown in the area were used inadvertently by some of the biggest names in the business - including Kraft Foods, Nestle, and ED&F Man - to make instant and packet coffee and energy drinks.

    Nestle was one of the companies praised by researchers for trying to find ways of keeping illegal beans out of its products. Others have pledged to take action after researchers contacted them. Some of those singled out by the study, including London-based ED&F Man, denied buying any illicit beans.

    Researchers used satellite imaging, interviews with farmers and traders, and monitoring of trade routes to track the progress of illicit coffee from cleared jungle land inside the park to the morning brew in Britain, Germany or America.

    Nazir Foead, WWF's director of policy and corporate engagement, said: "WWF doesn't want to shut down the coffee industry in Lampung province, but we're asking multinational coffee companies to implement rigorous chain-of-custody controls to ensure that they are no longer buying illegally grown coffee."

    Jonathan Atwood from Kraft, makers of Maxwell House and Kenco Coffee, said: "Traceability is very difficult. We are making the assumption that some of this illicit coffee might be in our supply."

    At stake is the survival of some of Asia's rarest and most spectacular mammals, including three subspecies found nowhere else in the world. The park is home to 40 Sumatran tigers—about 10 per cent of the animals left in the wild—and about 80 Sumatran rhinos, which are only found in three other parks on the island.

    A quarter of the 2,000 Sumatran elephants are also thought to be within the park.

    Indonesia is now the fourth-biggest coffee producer in the world after Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam, and half of its production is in Lampung.

    The "coffee rush" has brought 15,000 squatter families to the park. WWF said about 40,000 hectares had been cut down for coffee plantations inside the park's protected area. Government officials and overstretched park staff have done little to stop them.

    One coffee farmer, Suratno, admits to growing one and half hectares of coffee inside the forest. "I don't feel guilty. There is still plenty of forest in there."

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    29/07/2016 16:42:00 NEPAL
    World Tiger Day: Nepal wants to save big cats from Chinese market

    The species is still endangered even though its numbers are up. Poaching to meet demand from China remains the main threat. In Chinese culture, tiger meat has magical powers, and tiger parts go into local pharmacopeia and religious items.

    17/07/2008 CHINA - SOUTH AFRICA
    Animal rights activists on war footing against ivory market in China
    The organisation that deals with trade in endangered species has approved exchange between China and South Africa, allowing the Asian country to import 51 tonnes. In Kenya, three Chinese are arrested under the accusation of "illegal trafficking" of ivory.

    27/12/2006 INDONESIA
    Flooding kills 109 people in Sumatra
    Torrential rains have been falling on the province since December 21 forcing more than 400,000 residents to flee. The central government issues a national emergency as local authorities warn of a pending food crisis. Illegal logging is blamed for the tragedy.

    06/10/2010 INDONESIA
    Yudhoyono cancels visit to the Netherlands fearing arrest
    A Moluccas pro-independence movement, the RMS, files for his arrest. It would have been the first state visit by an Indonesian head of state in 40 years.

    13/08/2016 12:04:00 INDONESIA
    Save Sumatra elephant from extinction

    On the occasion of the World Elephant Day, celebrated yesterday, the authorities publish the last census of mammals living on the island. Decline of 39% from 2007. Ministry spokesman: "In addition to poaching, elephants are suffering from bad sanitary conditions. We have much work to do".

    Editor's choices

    For parish priest in Amadiya, Advent among Mosul refugees sees solidarity stronger than hardships (photos)

    Fr Samir describes an atmosphere of joy and hope, despite the lack of resources and less aid. The struggle for survival has boosted the bond between Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis. About 150 refugee families are still living at the centre, 70 per cent depending on resources provided by the Church. Hundreds of young people attend the prayer meeting in preparation for Christmas.

    Xenophobia and populism. The case of Asia

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Theme studied during symposium jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Tracing the commitment of Churches amid rising hostility towards others, considered as enemies and foreigners. "Migrants" are an important political theme in Germany and in UK Brexit. Testimonies from Latin America and Africa. Asian experiences entrusted to the director of AsiaNews.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®