A year of Toraja coffee: more beans, more income for farmers

A year of Toraja coffee: more beans, more income for farmers


Coffee is a serious business in Toraja of South Sulawesi. With a long-standing history of coffee growing and producing, Toraja has witnessed how coffee businesses empower farmers, including women and youth. We are glad to say that Rikolto contributes to the coffee sector transformation.

With the support from Toraja Rural Development Society (TRDS), Rikolto assists Toraja Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative (PPKT) to reach out to Arabica coffee farmers in two districts of North Toraja and Tana Toraja. Through the programme, we aim to empower smallholder farmers, improve coffee productivity and quality and, prepare PPKT to be a professional business entity. Here are some tangible results for this year.

More beans, more benefits for farmers

Coffee production has increased, from around 350 kg/ha in 2018 to 370 kg/ha in 2019. Thanks to Farmers Field School activities, PPKT has managed to promote sustainable coffee farming practices and reach out to farmers. To date, the cooperative has 1,731 members of coffee farmers growing and producing Lini S variety of Arabica coffee.

PPKT also maintains a good relationship with its members. Until the first semester of 2019, the cooperative has bought coffee from members totalling approximately 30,000 litters of wet parchment (around 10 tons), valued at approximately IDR 570,000,000 and has been sold around 2.5 tons with a value of approximately IDR 300,000,000.

“There are some benefits that farmers have received as cooperative members. First, through collective marketing, farmers sell their coffee to cooperative instead to local traders. Cooperative gives farmers higher prices. Second, members are involved in price-setting processes, so they are well-informed of prices.”

Thomas Upping Head of PPKT Cooperative

Building "Saleco" Brand

PPKT aims to build the identity of Toraja coffee that is grown and processed by farmers and benefit the Torajan people. Hence, the “Saleco” brand is born. Saleco –local language for Torajan spotted buffaloes- coffee offers 9 single origins coffee produced in nine different coffee-producing sub-districts. The product is available in the form of green bean, roast bean, and ground coffee.

PPKT has promoted Saleco in various occasions, one of which through Trade Expo Indonesia 2019 where the coffee from Toraja is one of the most-sought commodities on display. The brand has also slowly gained attention from coffee roasters and coffee shops in Indonesia due to PPKT’s active promotion through social media channels.

Opportunities for women and youth

“I learn how to sort coffee beans by working as a sorter. I enjoy what I am doing and I am happy to earn income for my work.”
Ratna Coffee sorter

The presence of PPKT opens up ample opportunities for women and youth to take part in the coffee value chain. The cooperative attempts to increase women’s access to capacity building activities, knowledge and paid work.

To date, 449 female farmers have benefitted from the programme through their participation in on-farm and off-farm activities. There are also five women coffee trainers responsible for delivering sustainable coffee farming practices to smallholder farmers.

This semester, PPKT has employed 20 women as coffee sorters, working from Monday to Saturday. Ratna is one of the sorters getting paid for Rp 50,000/day. From a week’s work, she could take home Rp 300,000.

Work opportunities emerge for young people too. PPKT has trained young people to be coffee trainers. As a result, 3 young trainers work and are involved in the cooperative. The cooperative held barista training as an initial step to attract young people to the coffee value chain.

Of course, there are still challenges to ensure that PPKT can transform itself to a solid business entity, such as limited human resources and capital, climate and environmental factors affecting coffee trees, and cultural constraints. However, some aforementioned results show that we are on the right track.

Read the complete report


The article is prepared and written by Kiki Purbosari (Coffee Coordinator) and Maria Serenade Sinurat (Communication Coordinator).