2021/07/13 President Shi Hongsen grows coffee to help Malawi farmers get rid of poverty

Shi Hongsen (2 from left) and his work partner.
The Taiwanese businessmen co-organized by the National Relations Center and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee in Africa met Shi Hongsen, the honorary chairman of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi in Africa, and the head of the East Africa Coffee Company. Unlike the general Taiwanese businessmen who are good at manufacturing and international trade, Shi Hongsen from South Taiwan assists small farmers and grows organic coffee because of his association with the African land, helping local people to get rid of poverty and improving the economy. He is praised by the local countries and society. 
Cherish things, love others, and be honest.
Shi Hongsen, who was in 1955, worked in the business machinery industry and later in the catering and catering business service industry. His words revealed the diligent and sincere Taiwanese entrepreneurs. In 2003, invited by a friend, went to Marawi to invest in pine wood business. Because they are not familiar with the local business environment, they are not allowed to enter.
Shi Hongsen is not discouraged. He remembers that Wang Yongqing, the god of business in Taiwan, said, "Operators who read less should rely on professional help who read more." With the assistance of the embassy at that time, he passed to the president of the Malawi Forestry University, and guided him to put forward a forest development plan and apply for a logging license. He personally visited the tribal chief and persuaded the association to hire local people to log (the land is owned by the tribal chief) before obtaining the only hardwood logging license in Malawi.
The business philosophy of "honesty is the foundation of entrepreneurship, respect for nature and love, and the blessing of nature" has allowed Shi Hongsen to follow the logging plan mentioned at the time of application after obtaining the Malawi logging license-sorting out logs and developing a 60-meter log Forest roads and seedlings are not cut, and locals are hired at 2.8 times the salary of ordinary employees.

In order to solve the transportation difficulties, Shi Hongsen pulled the production line to the forest farm, directly cut into standardized products on the forest farm, and then transported them back to the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe for sale, greatly reducing transportation costs. The company finally entered orbit in 2005, and the invested capital was recovered within three years. In 2008, despite the smooth development of the business and abundant income, Shi Hongsen realized that logging is a non-environmental and non-sustainable business; although he still had a logging license, he decided to transform and categorically ended the timber business.

Teach people how to fish

Malawi is located in southeastern Africa. Its geographical area is three times the size of Taiwan. The area of ​​Lake Marawi is the same as Taiwan. The whole territory is located at 9-18 degrees south latitude, with an average elevation of 1,200 meters. With a population of 18 million, 83% live in rural areas, and about 80% of the population are engaged in agricultural production, accounting for about 27% of GDP. The main products are tobacco, cotton, sugar, corn... etc. The per capita income is 250-350 US dollars, which has long been among the top five poorest countries in the world. Shi Hongsen decided to return the profit from operating timber to the local area. How to cut in? He thought that the cultivation of cash crops should be the way for the development of Malawi, which has an agricultural population.

Because of the image established by Shihong's forest wood mining (friendly forest development according to the application plan), it is highly affirmed by the local government and the United Nations agricultural experts. Under the guidance of Malawi UN experts, Shi Hongsen proposed a coffee planting poverty alleviation plan, which was supported by the European Union; it was led by the United Kingdom (Malawi was once a British colony) and composed of more than 50 professionals from eight countries including the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. NGO is a non-profit organization that provides technical guidance on environment, soil survey, seedling introduction, breeding, and planting. Shi Hongsen established and implemented the East African Coffee Company (Malawi) to be responsible for all the practices such as seedling cultivation, planting, harvesting, production (factory establishment), sales, salary and other related investment and expenses. During the four years from seedling cultivation to the first coffee harvest, there was no income. However, Shi Hongsen has grown from a layman to become a professional in fair trade and organic small-scale coffee farming.
Father and son work together to build a circular economy in Malawi
In 2011, his son Shi Hancheng also went to Malawi after serving his military service to assist his father in transforming coffee planting, processing and other logistics management and operations. Because international NGOs left after the first-generation farmers had completed planting, harvesting, and post-processing instructions. Shi Hancheng is responsible for continuing training and development, operation, management, transportation and sales, and the implementation of the "revenue guarantee mechanism"-in the coffee sales payment, the micro-loans are repaid in proportions, and they are entered into the micro-loan account for recycling. , Micro loans are used to provide farmers with organic fertilizer production, daily needs before harvest, etc.). There are more than 200 seasonal employees, and there are more women. Related management and operations, especially "the implementation of the income-guaranteed mechanism is the key to establishing a self-sufficient and circular economy model. To avoid the administrative efficiency and corruption of international donations, and directly return the benefits to the farmers." Shi Hancheng added.
'' Because it is completely based on the guidance of international NGO experts: organic cultivation, coffee fruit sweetness of 20% harvested, etc.; after the product was launched in 2012, the quality has been internationally recognized. The surplus began to appear in the following year, and it has grown multiples year after year ''

Shi Hongsen then allocated the surplus to build classrooms and dormitories for teachers and students in high schools in the producing areas to encourage the children of coffee farmers in remote mountainous areas to enter high schools. Shi Hongsen believes that the construction of a school can fundamentally change destiny, and the construction of churches (70% of Malawi Christians, and the opening ceremony of the church is presided over by the Archbishop of Malawi) to help the local people's spiritual life. "Mr. SHIH" from Taiwan is equated with "Good Man" in the 8,000-hectare coffee-producing area. Taiwan's image in Malawi is particularly old.

The original target plan was 2,000 farmers, but since the actual implementation, more than 8,000 households and 80,000 farmers have participated, 38 production areas, hundreds of nurseries; the planting area is as high as 8,000 hectares, and it continues to increase. The income of 8,000 farmers increased by 63%. In 2017, farmers built houses and bought motorcycles.
With the increase in coffee production areas, the increase in production, and the increase in technical sophistication, Shi Hongsen also decided to bring the Malawi results back to Taiwan. He entered the market under the brand of "African Sunshine Malawi" small farmer organic coffee. Because of its competitive "price ratio", it is favored by large-scale retail stores and coffee chain merchants. "I come from Taiwan and have experienced Taiwan's self-reliance economic development. I hope to teach the people of Malawi the key to changing their destiny. They all know that it is Taiwanese who change their lives by growing coffee." Shi Hongsen said that the coffee producing area has already produced two members of Congress and A minister encouraged them to come from a coffee-producing region in the future President of Malawi.

The achievement of poverty alleviation through cooperation with international NGOs through ecological coffee planting has been recognized. Other tribes also hope to replicate the cultivation of honey and macadamia nuts to improve the living and economic conditions of farmers in difficult mountainous areas. The initial funding of the Eco-beekeeping Program was provided by the United Nations. The East Africa Company under the leadership of Shi Hongsen was responsible for the subsequent production, operation, management, sales, and income guarantee, and replicated the coffee planting model. "Let natural ecology and economic activities coexist." Before the pneumonia epidemic, a small batch of production was already exported to the Taiwan market.
Taking corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability as the business philosophy
With the business philosophy of corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability, Shi Hongsen gives back not only to Malawi, but also to the villages in Taiwan. With the proceeds from coffee sales in Taiwan, he helped the Okayama Shoutianguo baseball team and participated in donating white rice and blankets to 400 disadvantaged and living alone seniors in Niaosong Township, Kaohsiung.

The coffee planting plan for poverty alleviation was not only affirmed by tens of thousands of farmers in Malawi, but was also awarded the "Haihua Medal of Honor" by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission on April 6. Tong Zhenyuan, chairman of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, praised Shi Hongsen’s spirit, which is comparable to the Nobel Peace Prize Bengal Muhammad Yunus founded the "Grameen Bank" to help the poor start businesses and get rid of poverty. It is a Taiwanese enterprise. The extension of family spirit.