Neither the macadamia nuts nor Arabica coffee grown in the Project's economic forest are indigenous to Northern Thailand. In order to reduce the risk of testing this new venture, the Foundation approached large corporations and banks to ask them to contribute funds to set up a private holding company that would manage Doi Tung's economic forests, and set up downstream processing facilities. The Crown Property Bureau, Siam Commercial Bank Public Company Limited, Bank of Asia (now United Overseas Bank), Mitsui & Company (Thailand) Limited, Ua-Chookiat Company Limited and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation joined together to form one of Thailand's first socially responsible entities called the Navuti Company. Any profit was used to develop local communities. The word Navuti means ninety and was bestowed by Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother in 1989, a year before she herself turned ninety.
Both macadamia nuts and Arabica coffee are labor-intensive commercial crops, creating jobs for both forestry and factory workers. To instill a sense of ownership, the Project rents out coffee trees for half a baht (approximately US$0.01) per tree per year. The farmers and their families take pride in caring for the plants because the more quality coffee they produce, the more they can earn.
Rather than selling the green beans to others for processing, the Project wanted locals to earn income from higher up the value chain. Doi Tung has set up its own factory, roasts the coffee beans, and sells the coffee under the "Doi Tung" brand. Doi Tung coffee is sold in shops in Thailand and Japan and also in Café Doi Tung branches throughout Thailand. Our coffee has also been granted a Geographical Indication (GI) by Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce of Thailand that reserves the use of the "Doi Tung Coffee" brand name for our single-origin coffee, grown here at elevations of 800 metres or more above sea level.
The benefits of Geographical Indication (GI) registration
GI is a form of intellectual property that ties a specific region or location to the product produced there. No coffee grown elsewhere can claim to be Doi Tung coffee, so the brand is secure and the value of the product is raised. Other examples of GI registered products include Parma ham, Parmigiano cheese, Cognac, and Champagne. By attaining GI registration, the brand identity of Café Doi Tung is secured for future local generations who will take charge of the business.
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