The unique varieties of Flores coffee

The unique varieties of Flores coffee

Rikolto promotes a profitable coffee business with added value for Flores coffee farmers and an open and fair coffee value chain.

The demand for quality coffee is growing worldwide, but coffee production is at risk. Rising heat, extreme weather, and pests mean that this high-altitude bean-based crop is running out of cool mountainsides on which it can flourish. As a result, coffee farmers are struggling to survive.

Coffee is an important commodity both at a national and regional level in Indonesia, making Indonesia one of the major global producers. Flores consists of many regions that enable the production of a unique variety of coffee blends: every island has its own varieties, each one comes with its special notes, body, aroma, and taste. Indonesian coffee's distinctive identity is influenced by its tropical fruits and by the diversity of climate and soil proper of each island.

In Flores, even though there are other vital crops such as cocoa, coffee is the primary source of income for most of the farmers in the area. Flores coffee brands Arabica Flores Bajawa and Manggarai are known worldwide.

Rikolto is active in East Nusa Tenggara Province, specifically in Ngada and Manggarai regencies in Flores. Here, we work together with Arabica Flores Bajawa Secondary Cooperative (AFB) and Manggarai Coffee Farmer Association Cooperative (ASNIKOM).

The scope of this project is to empower the farmers we work with to create a professional eco-friendly coffee producer farmer organization, link them with the markets and other key players in the coffee sector to promote open and inclusive business relations. In our intervention, we work especially toward youth and woman inclusion in the coffee value chain and organization management.

Kiki Purbosari Coffee & PES Programme Manager

Challenges

  1. Even though some cooperatives already received loans from financial institutions, access to finance is still a challenge. It is difficult for farmer organizations to meet the criteria set by those institutions, especially in terms of providing collaterals. Besides, they are often not able to earn enough income to pay for their interests.

  2. Due to the lack of human resources, there is often a problem in the cooperatives' internal dynamics and leadership. Often the organizations are struggling in giving fast responses and solving problems collectivity. In addition, they still lack the necessary skills to manage the financial aspect of the business.

  3. The price of coffee in the market is influenced by competitors within the sector, both globally and locally. There are plenty of quality coffee producers across Indonesia. At the same time, imported quality coffee is often sold at a lower price than the local one. Unlike Bajawa, cooperative in Manggarai has limited centralized processing units; therefore, it is difficult to maintain the quality standards required from the market.

  4. Climate change affects both the quantity and quality of produced coffee. Long draughts and heavy rainfalls are very likely to damage/affect the blossoming of coffee trees, the berries' maturation process, and increase pests and diseases.

  5. Coffee farmers are ageing and even though the interest of youngsters in the coffee sector has increased, they prefer to be involved in non-farming activities. For example, they are likely to be working as baristas, but their engagement at production, processing, and farmer organization level is weak.

  6. Women do not have the role they deserve within the organization. Even though they are engaged in farming activities, very few women are involved at the management level. The patrilineal culture remains strong: women must take care of the household. They are often shy and afraid of speaking their mind in public. There have been several cases of women willing to participate in the decision-making process but not being able to because they could not leave the house.

Strategies

Rikolto promotes a profitable coffee business with added value for farmers and an open and fair coffee value chain.

  1. To improve financial access for the cooperatives, we train them in activities such as bookkeeping and how to develop a good business plan to make them bankable. In addition, we also promote business contracts as collaterals with the buyers and social lender payments, not only loans coming from financial institutions.

  2. To make the competition in the coffee market affordable for farmers, we encourage them to diversify production and processing methods in order to bring to the market the uniqueness of Flores' coffee flavour. Another step we follow is to minimize the costs of production by using all available and affordable technologies to help the organization supply coffee at a competitive price. In addition, we strive for a quality standard of supplied coffee, in order to maintain the relations with current buyers and attract new ones. Manggarai is currently working on building centralized processing units which should be ready by the end of 2020.

  3. We work toward the development of Inclusive Business relations. We promote a profitable coffee business with added value for farmers directly connecting them with key buyers. They contribute by providing facilities and paying the farmers a premium price for the supply of high-quality coffee. At the same time, we build relations with other actors to influence the national agenda on the coffee value chain.

  4. To face the challenges of climate change, we work together with the farmers to implement climate-smart agriculture. We teach specific courses in the farmer field school, and we intend to include even more climate adaptability activities and techniques in order to minimize the impact on the productivity and quality of coffee. Agroforestry, together with multi-cropping and good agricultural practices are valid interventions to mitigate climate risks in addition to helping improve income diversification and productivity and quality of coffee. A correct pruning, for example, helps to minimize mould and diseases due to extreme weather and to reduce the moisture of coffee and get more sunlight to the farm. Furthermore, we intend to set up a course in the field school together with the regional weather forecast agency to train farmers on how to properly forecast and collect information about weather events.

  5. We prioritize the involvement of youth and women in our activities. We started a farmer field school programme dedicated to youngsters, and in numerous activities we organize, a minimum quantity of youth participant is required. The classes are related to field and management work, but in order to be more attractive for youngsters, we also include non-farming activities such as barista and cupping courses. The same strategy is applied to women inclusion. Some activities, such as female entrepreneurship, are specifically addressed to women, while other activities require a minimum number of female participants.

The project has a duration of 5 years, beginning in 2016 and lasting until 2021. The final goal of our work in Flores is to empower the farmer's organizations to become professional eco-friendly coffee producers, connect them with the market and key players in the coffee sector to promote open and inclusive business relations. Our intervention aims for youth and woman inclusion in the coffee value chain and organization management.

We work together with two cooperatives: Arabica Flores Bajawa (AFB) Cooperative and Manggarai Coffee Farmer Association Cooperative (ASNIKOM).

Arabica Flores Bajawa (AFB) Cooperative

Manggarai Coffee Farmer Association Cooperative (ASNIKOM)

Arabica Flores Bajawa (AFB) Cooperative

  1. Farmer Organizations have stipulated more inclusive policies towards young and women farmers and given them broader access to be involved in FO business. They now have a better knowledge of sustainable agriculture and inclusive business practices and can take an active role in FO business.

  2. The seriousness of AFB in maintaining coffee quality received appreciation from MTC (buyer) by providing a premium price of IDR 2000 / kg. The appreciation from the buyer motivates the cooperative to remain consistent in processing coffee in accordance with the SOP and also increase the sales volume target.

  3. AFB built a collaboration with Meteorological Climatological and Geophysical Agency (Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofisika/BMKG) Kupang, to organize a Climate school in the Arabica Flores Bajawa Secondary Cooperative area.

Manggarai Coffee Farmer Association Cooperative (ASNIKOM)

  1. Farmer Organizations have teams with adequate knowledge on traceability and sustainability standards that ensure that farmers meet sustainability verification criteria and produce required supporting documents.

  2. Members of FOs know the practices to improve the quality and quantity of the product according to the sustainability standards. FOs' products are acknowledged as high-quality products.

  3. FOs can develop a business plan, apply good financial and bookkeeping system to increase the business profit. They use business analysis tools for monitoring, evaluation, and lobbying with key stakeholders and understand requirements to access available credit schemes. In addition, they also have market information and knowledge on how to read their position in the domestic and global markets.

  4. FOs' management teams demonstrate more professionalism and are able to negotiate with buyers. They can develop collaboration with and gain business commitment from value chain stakeholders. Besides, the management teams improved their business and marketing communication and have a better knowledge of negotiation techniques and strategies.

  5. ASNIKOM buyers increased the purchase volume in 2019.

Belgian Directorate General for Development

Coffee and PES Programme Manager

Kiki Purbosari
Kiki Purbosari
Coffee and PES Programme Manager
+62 811-3866-293