The Haraaz coffee project was started by Shabbir Ezzi in 2007 who when visiting the Haraaz region of Yemen with his wife in 2006, was struck by the beauty of the Haraaz mountains and touched by the plight of the struggling local farmers. One of the biggest issues that negatively impacts the development of the Yemen is qaat – a narcotic which has become a common addiction, particularly among young men in the region. Much of the arable land is overtaken by qaat. "The Haraaz coffee project is about getting better revenues from coffee to make the growers less dependent on qaat growing," explains Mr Ezzi. Profits from the project have built paved roads, water treatment facilities, a hospital and school enabling farming families to have a sustainable future in the industry. "Our commitment is to pay a fair price to the farmers," said Mr Ezzi, "and develop sustainable agriculture and long-term health for the Haraaz mountain communities."
Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, has unfortunately been viewed in negative light recently, however, this unstable war-torn economy has little chance of recovery without the opportunity for commerce. Sustainable agriculture and connecting Yemeni coffee farmers with the global market is a step towards peace, economic growth and stability in the region.
Yemeni coffee is renowned for being rich and smooth. This coffee is grown under extremely dry conditions, on stone terraces at high elevations. Growing conditions like these mean the plants grow more slowly giving the beans a richer more concentrated flavor.
Yemen is the birthplace of coffee. First cultivated by Sufi Monks, who made the marvelous discovery that the seed in the coffee cherries could be roasted, ground and made into an beverage which has been invigorating and inspiring the world since.
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