Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant (Catha edulis) contains two alkaloids, cathinone and cathine, which act as stimulants.
Users simply chew the green khat leaves, keeping a ball of partially chewed leaves against the inside of their cheek (similar to chewing tobacco).
Long-term use or abuse has been linked to "insomnia, anorexia, gastric disorders, depression, liver damage" and heart attack, according to a 2009 study from the Austrian medical journal Wiener klinische Wochenschrift.
Much of Yemen’s agricultural land, was used to grow khat which generates quick profits. Chewing Khat is a common practice in Yemen and the Horn of Africa and is so widespread that a short-lived ban on khat in the mid-2000s was completely ignored before being quietly dropped.
But widespread cultivation of khat had heightened water shortages as the plant needs more water to grow than other crops. Khat was made illegal in the UK in June 2014.
The efforts towards uprooting Qat trees was undertaken by the surrounding Haraaz communities. Local people of this region were given a deadline of 6 months to eradicate their Qat plantations in favor of coffee or other agricultural options.
These efforts have led to the output of the world's finest coffee once again.
A major component of ensuring collective participation on an individual level towards sustainable Yemeni coffee production is where our partner, Shabbir Ezzi, with roots in Yemen, hopes to persuade farmers to give up growing qat through a competitive pricing standard and startup resources to convince farmers that they could make more money by planting coffee.
"For us, coffee is like gold," says Mr. Ezzi, explaining that coffee has been more successful than qat, proving to be a "great income" for his family.
A more integrated approach to the coffee trade by building relationships with Yemen coffee growers.
A World Health Organization classified Qat as a drug of abuse that had stifled the economic and social development of Yemen for decades. An arduous practice of Qat chewing was deeply embedded into Yemeni society. In recent years, almost 300,000 trees of Qat (catha edulis) were uprooted through awareness campaigns targeted to local farmers with the help of foreign volunteers
Haraazi farmers are guaranteed a minimum price for their coffee. To encourage farmers to expand and intensify their coffee production even further, al-Ezzi Industries pays higher prices for greater coffee quantities. The more beans farmers produce, the more they are paid per kilo.
To ensure authenticity, each farmer carries an ID card, depicting his name, photo, and farm location. Transparency and tracking of coffee begins on the farm and ends in the package. Cultivated by these proud farmers, we are privileged to introduce this pure reserve to the world.