The Jakarta Post
Coffee farmers in Dogiyai regency, Papua, face challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Belift Dogiyai Coffee Project/File)
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the life of coffee farmers in Papua’s Dogiyai regency.
The closure of seaports and airports following the outbreak has disrupted market access for the coffee beans, leaving farmers with 2 tons of backstock, more than half of this year’s harvest.
The pandemic has also caused a decline in coffee prices that threatens the farmer’s welfare.
With that in mind, social enterprise Belift is teaming up with the Community Welfare Development Foundation (YAPKEMA) to help the farmers sell 500 kilograms of the remaining backstock through a direct-trade model and e-commerce platform starting on Sept. 20.
Belift cofounder Ivan Hartanto told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the farmers usually sold the beans to local markets or big cities in Java through trade shows and local roasters.
“With limited transportation and declining orders, many beans have yet to be sold,” said Ivan.
Moreover, farmers face challenges in getting financial resources to upgrade post-harvest processing equipment and have limited knowledge about producing specialty coffee.
Ivan said he felt compelled to collaborate upon learning about the issues faced by the farmers during the pandemic, along with the clear mission of lead farmer and national arabica coffee trainer Hanok Herison Pigai to improve the regency’s post-harvest processing infrastructure, which includes drying tables and warehouses.
“I was inspired by Hanok’s hard work to boost the spirit of other coffee farmers in Dogiyai,” he said, “I want people in Indonesia to know how great the coffee farmers in Dogiyai are.”
Ivan added that Belift has a mission to share the local cultures, and Dogiyai has interesting stories, traditions and cultures to be shared with coffee and culture enthusiasts in Indonesia.
With help from Surabaya-based coffee company Goodwill Coffee & Co, Belift has roasted the green beans and turned them into 2,000 coffee boxes, each containing 200 grams of single-origin arabica coffee beans.
The project has set itself a goal of selling all the packages by the end of October and donate the entire profit of around Rp 75 million (US$5,093) to the farmers community.
Afterward, Belift will assist the farmers community in improving the infrastructure and the coffee quality.
Ivan said the coffee farmers usually implemented a semi-wash processing. However, he hoped that they could implement natural or full-wash processing.
Ivan said the farmers, led by Hanok, had general knowledge about processing specialty coffee. Nevertheless, Belift would try to help in choosing the type of post-harvest processing that was preferred by local and international consumers.
Ivan shared his hopes that, after improving the infrastructure, the coffee quality would drastically increase and Belift would be able to bring Dogiyai coffee to compete in the Specialty Coffee Expo 2021 to be held in New Orleans, United States. (wng)
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