Cocoa in Sumba, Indonesia

Cocoa in Sumba, Indonesia

Increasing the quantity and quality of cocoa beans as well as the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers in Sumba

Sumba is an island in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province that’s taking the attention away from other famous tourist destinations in the country. With an area of approximately 11,059.6 square kilometres, the island is famous for its unique landscape and breathtaking sceneries. However, in contrast to its iconic beaches and culture that attracts many visitors to the island, Sumba is one of the poorest islands in Indonesia. It’s population of around 700,000 people are mostly smallholder farmers living in remote rural areas with limited access to fertile land.

Most of the people in Sumba are highly dependent on crops such as maize and cassava as the main source of income and food, but the heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture makes farming a difficult task as drought is a constant threat to the island. To cope with harsh weather conditions and decreasing sources of income from foods crops, smallholder farmers in Sumba have begun to plant cash crops such as cocoa as an alternative source of income with higher financial yields.

Based on government figures related to cocoa in 2016, the total cocoa production in Sumba is 1,082 tons which accounts for 5,7 percent of the total production in East Nusa Tenggara province (19,096 tons). Meanwhile 6,315 farmers spread unevenly in Sumba’s East, West, Southwest and Central districts cultivate cocoa in an area of 4,715 hectares.

To ensure the long-term and sustainable source of cocoa amid challenges faced by farmers in Sumba, investment grants co-funded by the Millennium Challenge Account Indonesia, a grant management institution formed in 2013 by the Government of Indonesia to manage US government grants, the Swisscontact Consortium which includes Rikolto in Indonesia (previously VECO Indonesia) established the Sustainable Cocoa Production for Green Prosperity project (GP-SCPP). The project’s overall aim is to provide long-term support and services necessary to maintain sustainable, good quality and high quantity of cocoa production in 14 districts in the provinces of Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.

Given Rikolto’s long-standing presence in East Nusa Tenggara, the bulk implementation of GP-SCPP projects in the province has been organised by Rikolto in close collaboration with local partners and farmer organisations. In Sumba, the initial implementation began in 2016 with the training of 500 farmers in Southwest Sumba. A year later, the Central Sumba District Government requested Rikolto to replicate the GP-SCPP project already on-going in Southwest Sumba to boost productivity of cocoa in Central Sumba. During the implementation of the project, knowledge on good agricultural and environmental practices were shared with the farmers.

Cocoa cultivation certainly has potential as an alternative source of income for farmers in Sumba. Through innovative and improved farming methods, farmers can overcome the harsh natural conditions and fully optimize arable lands to produce high quality cocoa beans. This will not only ensure the sustainability of supply of high quality cocoa beans, but also increase the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the island.

Our Strategies

  • Leveraging significant private sector resources and access to marketing channels of partners to ensure Indonesia becomes a long-term sustainable source of cocoa in the global market;
  • Increasing cocoa production in order to maintain Indonesia\u2019s market position in response to growing demand;
  • Improving and optimizing smallholder yields that will result in increased incomes;
  • Standardizing prices to producers that reflect improvements in quality and sustainability; and
  • Contributing, either directly or indirectly, to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and/or improved carbon sequestration.