The cooperative provides an alternative market for local coffee farmers while also improve the highland’s land-use practices.
“Akar Tani cooperative is unique because it supports the improvement of upstream land by using coffee-based agroforestry schemes,” says Hasri, director of Akar Tani. “It always pays attention to the environment and how to improve its condition.”
Initially, Akar Tani struggled to compete with more experienced traders. The cooperative was new to business development and lacked financial support. It also needed help with its sustainability initiatives. RECOFTC, which had worked in the region for almost 10 years on tenure security and agroforestry, was well positioned to assist.
“RECOFTC has been a great partner and has continuously supported us by facilitating meetings with the government and conducting training on business planning and financial management,” says Hasri.
He explained that RECOFTC’s support helped the cooperative obtain a five-year loan for US$130,000 from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to improve local coffee production.
By 2017, Akar Tani was close to achieving its mission. Agreements had been secured with several coffee shops to supply local coffee, and prices for farmers had increased. The cooperative’s price for 2017 was 3,000 Indonesian rupiah, or US$0.20 more per kilo than the price given by the intermediaries.