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With the demand for coffee increasing both nationally and internationally, there are new opportunities for the country and the thousands of smallholders farmers who make a living from coffee production.
The Sustainable Coffee Platform of Indonesia (SCOPI) is the national platform for sustainable coffee which brings together the government bodies, coffee farmer organizations, NGOs, trade, roasters, and retailers to ensure coffee is grown at high levels of productivity in an environmentally sound manner and improves the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers.
In 2016, a National Sustainability Curriculum was created, endorsed by the Indonesian government, and rolled out across the country. The curriculum was made to train coffee farmers in good agricultural and business practices.
One promising example can be witnessed at a coffee farm in Malang, East Java. Here, farmers are comprehensively trained in cultivating coffee seeds. As a result, their ability to implement good agricultural and manufacturing practices is increased. The additional training materials provided also include farmer driven research, intercropping and zero waste management resources.
Local businesses who are registered as SCOPI Members are also directly involved in the curriculum. 2016 marked the kick-off of a private and public partnership between PT. Asal Jaya, a local coffee exporter, the local government of Malang district, and some 15,000 coffee farmers. Together they produced an integrated coffee farming and diversiﬁcation system and created a sustainable and balanced ecosystem well suited for thriving coffee crops.
This is because studies have shown that increasing the quantity and quality of coffee production, crop diversification, and intercropping can lead to higher income for farmers. Crop diversification is indeed an important strategy to secure the farmers income and improve their livelihoods and one that is recognized by Indonesian coffee farmers – as Leader of the Margo Makmur Farmer Group, Muhamad Alianto states: “I’d like to cultivate other crops such as chilli or vanilla that has high selling value so when there’s a bad coffee year, other crops can be my other source of income”.
As part of the platform and co-developer of the National Sustainability Curriculum, IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative worked with SCOPI to build the business case and made it accessible for farmers like Muhamad. Imam Suharto, Senior Program Manager Coffee and Cocoa at IDH Indonesia believes that: “through the national curriculum, we can train coffee producers properly so they can increase their productivity. From that improved productivity, we hope Indonesian coffee farmers are able to produce better coffee, for better prices, which in the end will increase their revenues”.