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Village forests in Sulawesi


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Presented by Ramli of the Akar Tani Cooperative at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, on 23–25 April 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Published in: Environment
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Village forests in Sulawesi

  2. 2. One of the very first Village Forests in Indonesia is located in Patteneteang, covering 146 ha of community forest. I am a coffee farmer and the Production Coordinator for Akar Tani Cooperative. I learned how to grow coffee since I was a child.
  3. 3. Coffee has been the source of livelihood for our community since the Dutch colonization era. Bantaeng at that time was known as Bontyne. However, in the 1990s clove was introduced as the most viable alternative source of income. Farmers changed their production from coffee to clove, even though our area was not suitable for clove. For the past two years, we had no harvest for clove. Today, coffee remains the main livelihood for farmers.
  4. 4. Limited market alternatives and low prices have been the main challenges for farmers. Often, village traders practiced “Ijon System”, giving cash to farmers before the harvesting time, and making deals on prices, which were much lower than the market price. Pricing was uncertain and our bargaining power was limited.
  5. 5. Besides the market challenges, farmers also faced a decrease in the productivity of coffee, as their on-farm management techniques were not strong (example as shown in this picture, no pruning for the tree).
  6. 6. In 2016, I started to address these challenges when I was involved in Akar Tani Cooperative, which is also supported by RECOFTC and RAFT. The cooperative was established by BALANG, a local CSO. Farmers can become members of this cooperative. It offers about IDR2000-3000 higher margin compared to the traders’ price. It’s quite a significant increase for farmers.
  7. 7. The Cooperative is processing coffee into green bean and selling it to roasters in Makassar, who supply coffee shops in the city. Farmers are encouraged to improve the quality of their coffee and their practices. For example, during harvesting, they are taught to pick only red cherries. During the post harvest period, farmers are encouraged to use a simple green-house, rather than drying the coffee on the street.
  8. 8. If we would like to encourage more farmers to be interested in business, training and capacity building are fundamental. I am grateful to have been selected to attend the training on business development. I found the session on business plan development particularly interesting. As a farmer, I have never developed a business plan and also cash flow. Now, I know how to calculate production costs, loss-profit projection, start-up capital to start a business, including risk management. I also learned to seek more market opportunities. I never thought our coffee could reach a wider market.
  9. 9. I also want to share my knowledge with youths from my village. Often, they are not interested in farming. Many graduate from high school and university, yet they are unemployed. That is why I started a Farmers’ Group, involving more youths. Our aim is to provide business opportunities and encourage them to learn organizational and business development skills to start up their businesses.
  10. 10. DAULU We are trying to promote Daulu coffee as the signature coffee from Bantaeng. In South Sulawesi, everyone knows Toraja coffee. We want people to also know Bantaeng coffee.
  11. 11. DAULU I participated in several local and national exhibitions and events. I realized that the coffee market is huge! My confidence increased and I felt proud when people in the city liked the taste of our Daulu coffee.
  12. 12. DAULU Akar Tani Cooperative always shares the story of how our coffee planted with the agroforestry system contributes to conserving the forest, while at the same time providing livelihood to the people. I want people to know that when they drink our coffee, they are supporting our village and community.
  13. 13. The Distrcit Government supports us and it has built a Center for coffee processing. Trade Department provides us with equipments, Cooperative Department warehouse. We can use the facilities to process coffee in a larger scale. We will also collaborate with the Tourism Department to develop eco- tourism for coffee in Village Forest.
  14. 14. There are still some challenges, for example provision of quality seedlings. We asked for coffee seedling but we got corn. We also experienced getting the coffee seedling that were not suitable for our area. We planted them for 3 years but no result. We cut and changed the tree again. Therefore we are now in discussion with the Farming and Plantation Department to develop quality local seedlings.
  15. 15. Another challenge is accessing finances to meet the high demand from potential buyers. The Cooperative has requested support from BLU (a forestry financing agency from the Central Government). Even though, the requirements are many and process is long as this is new experience for us, we are already in the final step and potentially to get the financing by next month.
  16. 16. Getting this financial support will just be the first step. We need capacity building on how to run our business sustainably in order to support our families, our community, and protect our forests.