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Bantaeng District, South Sulawesi has some of the highest poverty rates in Indonesia (40%). Historically intensive agricultural practices have caused deforestation, jeopardizing local communities’ ability to live off forest resources. Coffee has provided communities with alternative livelihoods. However, the District is dominated by few traders that set artificially low prices for coffee farmers. Farmers receive the same price for their low and high quality beans, giving them no incentive to improve harvesting techniques and increase coffee quality. Farmers’ low bargaining power combined with poor crop management and high competition among smallholder producers, provide obstacles to increasing their livelihoods. Farmers formed a coffee cooperative to increase the price for coffee, improve quality and promote sustainable production. The cooperative has a vision and business plan but lacks the skills and funding to establish reputation for its coffee quality and sustainable practices.
The project will support the coffee cooperative in implementing its business plan which involves expanding production and gaining reputation for its specialty coffee. At present, the cooperative works with two villages in Bantaeng. To expand its production, the cooperative plans to work with three additional villages. The Center will start by obtaining legal status for community forestry in the villages to give farmers rights to plant coffee and protect land. Secondly, The Center will help train 300 farmers on sustainable coffee production thereby increasing their income by 25%, while ensuring land sustainability. To gain recognition for its coffee, The Center will support in marketing and branding to expand customer base. Lastly, to secure the cooperative’s long-term financial sustainability, The Center will assist in improving their financial management practices and facilitating partnerships with national and local financial institutions for collaboration and funding opportunities.