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ZURICH Oct 4 Nestle's Nespresso brand
said it had halted coffee operations for now in South Sudan,
where opposition leader Riek Machar has called for a return to
war against the government.
"We had to temporarily suspend our operations in the
country. It is the third time this happened since we started
working there," Nespresso spokeswoman Jacquelyn Campo said on
Tuesday, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
"The situation has deteriorated and is very difficult at the
moment," she said, adding it was impossible to say at this stage
when the company would be able to resume business there.
The premium coffee brand started working with local farmers
in South Sudan in 2011, in partnership with non-profit
organisation TechnoServe, to revive coffee production which had
been destroyed by years of armed conflict in the region.
It launched a first limited-edition Robusta coffee from
South Sudan one year ago.
South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil
war fuelled by ethnic divides and disputes over oil, but
internal conflicts and political power struggles have persisted,
with fresh clashes flaring in July.
Campo said Nespresso had invested over $2.5 million in the
project and had so far trained 731 South Sudanese coffee
farmers. Its partner, TechnoServe, will launch a radio programme
to remotely train coffee farmers at the end of this month, she
"The next harvest starts at the end of October, beginning of
November. At the moment, we cannot project what the future will
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)