Coffee was introduced to Araku region in the early 1900’s from neighbouring Pamuleru Valley, and in 2007, Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers Mutually Aided Cooperative Society (SAMTFMACS), a coffee farmer cooperative formed with assistance from The Naandi Foundation, was formed to push the coffee production there even further. It operates across seven mandals in the area – Araku, Hukumpeta, Dumbriguda, Anathagiri, Paderu, Pedhabaylu and Munchinpet – where the farmers have decentralised small and scattered plots averaging 1-2 acres per family. They are subsistence farmers, balancing cash crops such as pepper, turmeric, and ginger with coffee production.
A state-of-the-art Coffee Processing Unit was set up in Araku, fully equipped with latest machinery such as coffee pulpers. Naandi, in association with Araku Originals Private Limited (AOPL), a connected for-profit social enterprise, is also the first in the country to receive global accreditation as a Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) Premier Training Campus offering courses on green coffee, barista skills, brewing, and roasting, along with authorized SCA trainers.
An area that previously used slash and burn deforestation techniques had reduced the land to semi wasteland and with no traditional knowledge of how to grow coffee; production was low and of poor quality. By providing technical support and training in all areas needed for a small farmer, the cooperative has managed to significantly increase the quality and quantity of coffee grown, to what can recognisably be seen as Indian speciality coffee.