Producer Profile: PPKGO

Written by Cafe Campesino on Jan 1, 2005 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |

PPKGO, Indonesia
Date Established: 1997
Number of Members: 1,900
Annual Production: 91 containers (100% organic)
Varieties of Arabica: Typica, Catimor, Caturra,
Bergendal, Sidikalang

About Gayo Organic Coffee Farmers Association
Gayo Organic Coffee Farmers Association (or PPKGO) is an organic, Fair Trade cooperative located in the Gayo highlands of the Aceh province of Sumatra, Indonesia—an area largely committed to coffee production. The cooperative was founded in 1997, and became Fair Trade certified in March of 2000. The co-op’s 1,900 farmers encompass 24 communities, and 20 percent of PPKGO members are women. In a region known for political conflict, the cooperative has achieved relative peace and unity, even among the different ethnic groups that comprise its membership: Gayo (50%), Javanese (30%), Acehnese (15%), Padang (3%) and Batak (2%).

Ensuring Quality and Environmental Sustainability Quality Control and Organic Production
Gayo farmers believe in producing a high-quality product from the ground up, taking the ecosystem into account, and using a labor-intensive organic system—effectively pruning, controlling erosion, recycling organic matter, enhancing biodiversity, and protecting songbird habitat. All of PPKGO’s coffee is shade grown and certified organic.

With Fair Trade revenues generated by PPKGO since 2000, the cooperative has invested in a cupping lab at its export processing plant in Medan. Another cupping lab at the cooperative’s office in Aceh will be completed in early 2004.

Equipment and Transportation
In 2002-2003, PPKGO invested in five local wet mills in several villages. The cooperative is also planning to build an additional 11 wet mills in nearby villages. Over the last three years cooperative members from five communities have purchased over 25 vehicles for coffee transport.

ForesTrade & PPKGO
Fair Trade purchases from PPKGO: 2,323,695 lbs
Payment to PPKGO at $1.41/lb: $3,276,410

* Farmer income from purchases: $2,277,221
* Production & social investments from purchases: $697,109
* Milling & operating costs related to purchases: $302,080

“When you drink our coffee, don’t just think about the higher incomes small farmers are earning, but about the species we’re protecting in the midst of this conflict. The value added from Fair Trade is not just about money, it’s about protecting the ecosystem and our community.”
—Iswandi Idris, PPKGO member

Technical Assistance and Sustainability
With Fair Trade revenues, PPKGO provides its members with technical support in the non-chemical control of pests, diseases, and weeds, as well as training in the uses of organic fertilization methods and improved shade tree management. Within this last area, coffee plants are intercropped with leguminous shade trees, fruit trees, and horticultural crops. During the last harvest, agronomists and members set up a community nursery for coffee and shade tree seedlings.

Social Benefits and Community Development
With Fair Trade revenues, the cooperative helped to fund a potable water system that now benefits more than 1,500 people in five communities. This project, and others funded by the cooperative, have created over 100 new jobs across Gayo’s headquarters, villages, and processing plants. Since PPKGO’s first sales to the Fair Trade market, many cooperative members have made upgrades to their homes and farms, and many others have saved enough to build their own homes.

Income Diversification
PPKGO is working with a number of local farmer organizations, NGOs, and entrepreneurs to develop alternative sources of income, including vanilla, patchouli oil, vegetables, rice, tobacco, oranges, potatoes, avocados, and bananas.

“Thanks to Fair Trade, we can invest in infrastructure to improve our well-being. One of my children now attends medical school and the other is studying midwifery.” —Mohammed Salim, PPKGO member

With the support of Fair Trade revenues, PPKGO has provided supplemental financing for the construction of two local schools, three schools of Koranic studies for children and young people, and one football field for children.

Personal Achievements
With higher incomes, many of PPKGO’s members have been able to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. To date, nearly 150 Gayo farmers have fulfilled this lifelong goal of Muslims.

Written data provided by Lucia Lie Sembiring, Director of ForesTrade Indonesia, October 2003; Stephanie Madoff, Director of Marketing, ForesTrade, November 2003; and by Thomas Fricke, Owner, ForesTrade, November 2003.

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