CHIANG RAI, Thailand, Feb 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A major Thai coffee brand has vowed to repay about 200 farmers who were forced to take out loans while waiting nearly three years for payment, leaving them with spiralling debts.
Doi Chaang Coffee – which has more than 50 franchises in Southeast Asia – said it would pay about 7 million baht ($224,000) after the Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed the non-payment and ensuing debts.
Doi Chaang calls itself a social enterprise, a company that addresses environmental and social issues while making a profit, and was founded in 2003 seeking to give growers a fairer price.
“By June we should be able to pay back all of the money that we owe to the coffee growers,” said Panachai Pisailert, managing director of Doi Chaang Coffee Original Co.
“The past two to three years the economy has been bad, and that has affected Doi Chaang’s coffee sales,” he added, saying the company used to pay its suppliers within four days.