Northern Thailand Coffee Farmer Support Project

Coffee beans cultivated by a minority ethnic group in northern Thailand by organic farming
Coffee beans cultivated by a minority ethnic group in northern Thailand by organic farming


Teaching coffee field
Teaching coffee field

This project supports the improvement of the lives of ethnic minorities living in mountainous areas near Chiang Mai City in northern Thailand.

This area, where illegal poppy cultivation used to be rampant, has been converted to alternative cash crops such as coffee by the Thai government's powerful drug eradication campaign. But It wasn't going as expected and life was getting harder.

So ALL Net decided to support their coffee cultivation with the help of experts. This project utilizes the "Japanese NGO Partnership Grant Aid Program" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2007 Pilot Project

2008 Minority Life Improvement Project (CMPP) near Chiang Mai ,1st term           CMPP :  Chiangmai Minority People Project
2009 2nd term
2010 3rd term
2011 ~ Follow

Donation of coffee seedlings
Donation of coffee seedlings
Nursery instruction
Nursery instruction
Tree planting instruction
Tree planting instruction
Care and harvesting guidance
Care and harvesting guidance
Commercialization guidance
Commercialization guidance

♣How did we get involved in supporting the project?

Serious look at children learning coffee
Serious look at children learning coffee

It was before ALL Net started its activities. At that time, the Thai government was promoting a drug eradication campaign in the country, and the Japanese government was supporting it.


Hidefumi Ichikawa (the founder of ALL Net, at that time an active employee of a Japanese  private company), who was participating in the project, shared his concerns during a meeting with an executive of the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University, who was cooperating with the government's operation.


Ichikawa, who had a desire to make an international contribution as a volunteer after retiring from his active duty, sensed the possibility of contributing to "improving the lives of the hill tribes of Thailand" from what he said about his concerns.


Together with several volunteers, Ichikawa bought coffee plants from Chiang Mai University at his own expense and donated them to farmers who were willing to grow coffee in the hill tribes. It was only a small support activity that he could do at his own expense, but it gave him a solid response and became the germ of a full-scale support activity.

Ichikawa, together with other volunteers, established the current ALL Net, and the project (CMPP) was launched in earnest by approaching the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I

♣What are the needs of the Thailand side?

Slash and burn
Slash and burn

There are about 1 million hill minorities in Thailand. Many of them live in the northern mountainous areas. Although Thailand has achieved remarkable economic development, these hill minorities were not only able to enjoy the benefits, but were confronted with the difficult position of being required to change from traditional lifestyles.


It is essential to stop their illegal poppy cultivation and switch to other cash crops and improve their lives.However, measures such as the expansion of slash-and-burn fields and the heavy use of agrochemicals caused the living environment to worsen, making it difficult to take measures.


Although the Thai government actively promoted coffee cultivation suitable for the climate in the mountainous areas of Thailand as a powerful source of income to replace poppy cultivation, it did not always go smoothly.


The troubles of executives at Chiang Mai University were as follows.
◆ In terms of security, it is essential to convert cash crops and improve lives for hill minorities
◆ Coffee cultivation is an effective means from the land pattern, but stable income requires more than 5 years after planting
◆ There are many poor people who cannot afford to buy coffee seedlings because of their slow cash flow, and coffee cultivation does not proceed as expected.

Therefore, new wisdom was needed .

♣What are the challenges and solutions?

1. Barriers to entry into coffee cultivation

Donated coffee seedling (nurtured at Chiang Mai University)
Donated coffee seedling (nurtured at Chiang Mai University)

Coffee cultivation in this area has been successful for over 30 years. However, although it started with government, the Thai coffee market was not yet matured and was not competitive overseas, so it was abandoned and returned to other cash crops. Many farmers were skeptical of resuming coffee from past failures. Also, many of the interested farmers were unable to afford to buy coffee seedlings that would not make money in the short term.

We provided free coffee seedlings to support startups.

2. Measures for inexperienced coffee growers

Seminar example (measures against diseases and pests)
Seminar example (measures against diseases and pests)

Although there was a past cultivation experience, the current farmers had little knowledge of coffee cultivation due to generational changes. Therefore, it was required to instruct coffee cultivation from the first place. On the other hand, ALL Net, which supports it, had no human resources familiar with coffee at that time.

(1) We received various instructions from the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University.
(2) We requested a domestic coffee expert to build a necessary consulting system, including project reviews, field surveys, and so on.

3. Strengthen local leadership of the project

Hozumi Nakano is on the right
Hozumi Nakano is on the right

Since it was judged that this project was difficult to achieve with ordinary efforts, there was an urgent need to create a system that could provide strong guidance locally.

We asked Hozumi Nakano who is a representative of the NPO "Lunearung (Akatsuki) Project" and highly trusted by the local people, to support the ethnic minorities of the mountainous areas of Thailand (introduced by the Consulate General of Chiang Mai) and became the local leader of the project.


Akatsuki House is a facility owned by "Lunearung (Akatsuki) Project" in northern Thailand. It has its own farm and makes various crops. As a result of participating in CMPP, under the guidance of Chiang Mai University, they started to grow coffee, challenged organic cultivation, eventually became a local model farm and has grown into a powerful engine that led CMPP.

4. Health and environmental measures

Care instructions
Care instructions

Coffee crops, which are cash crops, generally use chemical fertilizers to increase yields, but they also have the following serious problems. ♦ Health damage to farmers ◆ Coffee tree exhaustion ◆ Farmland exhaustion ◆ Water resource contamination

Organic farming is effective in solving these problems, but it was said that it is impossible (not economically feasible) in Thailand. However, Akatsuki House that promoted organic farming succeeded in getting the coffee going on track by trial and error, and led the local people.

5. Sales channel development


Because of the new entry, it was necessary to cultivate new sales channels for coffee beans in order to continue stable business.

In order to develop sales channels in Japan, we focused on establishing a distribution network in Japan. We proposed a fair trade method and were willing to accept it so that it would not be influenced by the coffee market with large fluctuations.


Since then, Thailand's coffee demand has grown rapidly, and now all of it is sold in Thailand.

♣Why was it successful? (Summary)

Coffee beans just before harvest
Coffee beans just before harvest

ALL Net is not a coffee business professional. We think that it was a successful combination of the following factors:

◆ Farmers had a ground to accept coffee cultivation
◆ Thai coffee demand grew steadily
◆ Being able to organically collaborate with specialists in various fields.

 (local universities, coffee experts, NPOs with a strong reputation in Thailand)

♣Project History

Sept. 2006

Starting of pilot project. Presenting 200 coffee seedlings for the first year and planting guidance to Mon people

Sept. 2007

Presenting 500 coffee seedlings for 2 years and planting guidance to Mon people

Dec. 2007

Proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for the "Project to improve the lives of ethnic minorities near Chiang Mai (CMPP)"

Sept. 2008

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) provided grant aid to the Mon people for the Japanese NGO partnership and we signed a contract for the above project.


Signing ceremony at the Consulate General of Chiang Mai
Signing ceremony at the Consulate General of Chiang Mai

Sept. 2009

Signed  the second term gift contract for the project

may 2010

Expanded the area and scale, presented seedlings, participated in tree planting, conducted local guidance and seminars. There are 21,000 seedlings for Khunchankian village and 9,900 for the Takho area (30,900 in total).

Aug. 2010

Concluded the third term gift contract for the project

Oct. 2010

Lecture by Hozumi Nakano, representative of the “Lunalun (Akatsuki) Project”, which received the Foreign Minister's Commendation

Dec. 2010

Completion ceremony of coffee processing building with attendance of Japanese Consul General in Chiang Mai

Nov. 2011

Lending a coffee peeler each to Sancang Village and Rocho Village in Taco District

coffee peeler
coffee peeler

Dec. 2011

Report  of project completion to MOFA

Feb. 2012

Purchased 137kg of coffee beans harvested by farmers and requested sales through famous Japanese coffee shops

Mar. 2012

Donated a plastic pipe to draw irrigation water into the field at the request of farmers

May 2012

Donated 3400 coffee seedlings and 110 bags of organic fertilizer to the Taco district

Oct. 2012

Subsequent investigation by the Consulate General in Chiang Mai

May 2013

Donated 3000 coffee seedlings and 93 bags of organic fertilizer to the Taco district

May 2014

Donated 2000 coffee seedlings to the same district

Feb. 2015

Donated 54 bags of organic fertilizer and 34 pieces of wood vinegar to the same district and held seminars and practical training for berry borers

May 2015

Donated 2000 coffee seedlings to the same district and supported development and sales

May 2016

Donated 1200 coffee seedlings to the same district and supported development and sales

May 2017

Donated 2000 coffee seedlings to the same district and supported development and sales

Mountain minority residence
Mountain minority residence
Education for children
Education for children
Donation to nursery school
Donation to nursery school
Social exchange
Social exchange

♣Massage from related parties

Hozumi Nakano

Representative of NPO Lunearung (Akatsuki) Project
◆ Received the Foreign Minister's Commendation
◆ Local representative of CMPP project


I am grateful to have learned many things while participating in the life improvement project. In addition, while working on the cultivation and processing of coffee, the relationship between the parents of the students and the dormitory pipes has led to a closer and more trusting relationship with people. I was very happy to have developed into a relationship where we learn from each other and collaborate. (Jury 20, 2018)


Government agency

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Academic institution

Chiang Mai University

nonprofit organization

Lunearung (Akatsuki) Project

Royal Project (Thailand)