Preserving forests one cup at a time

Preserving forests one cup at a time

21/03/2019
in News
Maria Serenade Sinurat
Maria Serenade Sinurat
Communication Coordinator
+6281139607490

The lush forests of Kerinci Seblat National Park landscape in Jambi are home to rich biodiversity and iconic species. In a bid to preserve the ecosystem, forest communities need to be involved in conservation efforts. Through Rikolto’s Payment for Ecosystem Services programme, we transform coffee farmers to solid business partners and guardians of the forests.

Triyono is one of the transformed coffee farmers. Rikolto initially met him in a coffee expo in Jakarta in 2015. At that time he participated in the expo on behalf of the Community Protection of Geographical Indications Koerintji, a coffee farmers’ association in the Kerinci District of Jambi Province. “Previously, I had knowledge about neither coffee business nor good agricultural practices. I cultivated coffee because most farmers in my area did so,” Triyono said.

His collaboration with Rikolto started after the expo. From the start, Triyono showed enthusiasm to learn about coffee business and how to cultivate coffee sustainably. “At first we introduced sustainable and good agricultural practices to farmers and we encouraged coffee farmers to establish a cooperative. In 2017, Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative (Barokah) was finally established,” said Firman Supratman, Payment for Ecosystem Services Curator at Rikolto in Indonesia.

During the period 2017 to 2018, Rikolto assisted Barokah in a myriad of ways to help strengthen the cooperative. But most importantly, Barokah members were encouraged to uphold good agricultural practices in the coffee cultivation. To incentivize farmers, Rikolto linked the cooperative with buyers willing to pay higher price for sustainably produced quality coffee.

Dedication, consistency and passion

Initially, farmers reaped a bitter harvest. They could not handle and process coffee properly, resulting to low quality coffee. Rikolto provided them with trainings and introduced them to buyers and other strategic actors in the coffee value chain. Rikolto continuously supported them to improve their coffee farming, handling and processing techniques until they finally were able to produce Arabica specialty coffee with consistent quality. In 2017, they won a first place at the Jakarta Coffee Week and the Indonesian Specialty Coffee Contest 2017 with a cupping score of 88.29. This win gave Barokah more confidence and determination to improve its coffee quality.

2018 was proven to be a busy and lucrative year for Barokah. The cooperative won a second place at the Indonesian Specialty Coffee Contest 2018 with a cupping score of 90.44, higher than last year’s score. In the same year, Triyono was invited by the Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia (SCAI) to represent Barokah and exhibit its coffee product at the Specialty Coffee Week event in Hanoi, Vietnam. Internationally, the Arabica coffee KBBC produced was awarded a Bronze Gourmet title by the AVPA in the Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (SIAL) exhibition in Paris in October 2018.

All the achievements spoke volumes about the dedication, passion and consistency that Barokah poured into producing a specialty coffee. “The awards and exhibitions put us in a spotlight. Demand is high. Barokah is known for its specialty coffee. Buyers even lining up in our office,” Triyono said.

The awards helped boost Barokah brand in the coffee scene. As a result, the cooperative managed to expand its market. They supplied green beans to companies such as MTC, Vigilante and The Q Coffee that exported the coffee to Australia, USA and Germany. Domestic coffee demand has also increased. Increased sales meant a lot for farmers. Barokah could buy coffee cherries from farmers with a better price and convinced farmers that sustainably produced coffee was also profitable.

Yet the benefit is more than monetary gains. As farmers implemented good agricultural practices, they noticed the return of some bird species nesting in shade coffee trees. “We are happy to know that our efforts to cultivate coffee sustainably contribute to a healthier environment. This is something that we will keep promoting to coffee farmers in Kerinci,” Triyono added.

We are happy to know that our efforts to cultivate coffee sustainably contribute to a healthier environment. This is something that we will keep promoting to coffee farmers in Kerinci.

Triyono Head of Koerintji Barokah Bersama Cooperative