We had hoped to be out in Cameroon at the end of this year and deepening our relationships with farmers, however that is now not going to be possible. We hope and pray for a swift and peaceful resolution, for the country and it's people. When safe and possible we will continue to support Matti and his fellow farmers.
This is an extract from an email from Matti in Cameroon:
The crisis rapidly turned violent and has taken the country to the brink of civil war. For the past couple of years, the lives of millions of Cameroonians living in the English-speaking regions of the country (where this crisis is unfolding) have been seriously disrupted; thousands have been killed or seriously injured, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, schools at all levels of education have been closed, villages and towns attacked …
It is not easy to explain how a seemingly peaceful country like Cameroon can so rapidly be breaking apart...
For those of you who are concerned about our operations and the production of coffee, please be assured that we have placed, and continue to place the safety of our field associates and farmers as our most important consideration when conducting field operations:
- In May a military unit on patrol shot at our washing station warehouse at Sho village without warning, hitting a young man in his eye. He lost his eye, but thankfully the bullet did not enter his brain and we are pleased to say that he has since been fitted with a prosthetic eye.
- In June the dry mill processing our coffee and neighboring homes and business premises were attacked by the military and many properties were burnt down, including the home of one of the young ladies working on our coffee at the mill; 18 of the young ladies were abducted by the military, but released and returned to their town by the District Administrator
- Our export of coffee was interrupted for 4 months, but we have finally moved most of our inventory from the conflict areas and have resumed bagging for export.
I do hope that the Human Rights Watch document will serve as a "wake up call", a reminder that "prevention is better than cure", and that it is not too late for us to add our voices to those saying "NO" to violence and disrespect of the rights and dignity of any human being.
Peace and kind regards