From the Field, News

Monday, March 14, 2022

Changing the Game with Nurseries in Indonesia

Sucafina Indonesia is working with local farmers to help improve yields and diversify farmer incomes, all in one new project: coffee nurseries.

Improve Overall Production

One effective way to help increase productivity and farmer incomes is by expanding farmers’ access to quality seedlings. After a certain age, coffee trees start to produce lower yields. The renovation process of removing older trees and replanting superior coffee seedlings has a quantifiable impact on farm productivity.

Varieties in Indonesia

Replanting trees also gives farmers a chance to replace existing varieties with more desired ones, which can increase their overall income.

Indonesia is unique because many of the varieties grown there are not grown anywhere else. This, combined with the singular Wet Hulled processing method, produces a unique flavor profile that is highly sought-after.

“I would say most of the varieties that we grow here are unique to Indonesia,” says Daniel Shewmaker, Managing Director Indonesia and Timor Leste. Many varieties come from the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI), which develops and distributes varieties to farmers across Indonesia. Two of their most common varieties are the Catimor selections Andung Sari and Sigarar Utang. Some other common varieties in Indonesia are Linie S795 and USDA 762. Linie S795 is the progeny of Kent and Liberica varieties produced in Indonesia. USDA 762 is an Ethiopian variety brought to Indonesia by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Giving Farmers the Varieties They Want

Currently, many farmers get their seedlings from local stakeholders (governmental & NGO) who give out free seedlings to farmers in many areas. However, the varieties primarily offered are  Catimor types like Andung Sari and Sigarar Utang, while “many farmers are looking to capitalize on the interest in specialty coffee and begin planting more Typica-derived varieties like USDA 762,” says Dineshbabu Velumany, Sustainability Manager for Sucafina Indonesia.

To help our farming partners gain access to the seedlings they want, and to increase sustainability and farmer success, Sucafina Indonesia is working with partner farmers to develop several nurseries geared towards offering the varieties farmers want at accessible locations and prices.

The Nursery Project

“The impact of pricing going higher this last year is that people want to produce more, and to do that, they want to buy more seedlings of certified varieties,” Dineshbabu explains. “The nurseries we’re working on are entrepreneurship nurseries, where we’ll support partner farmers who are establishing the nurseries on their own land.”

Sucafina Indonesia will provide materials for building and maintaining a nursery, along with quality seeds and agricultural inputs, and the partner farmers will supply the land and their labor. The seeds provided will depend on the individual needs of farmers in the area. Sucafina Indonesia will conduct surveys to determine which varieties are in highest demand and provide relevant varieties to nursery partners. Once they are off the ground, the farmers can sell their seedlings to neighboring farms, creating an additional source of income for them. Sucafina’s field assistance team will also provide technical assistance to farmers purchasing these seedlings.

“Right now, we have established one nursery with a capacity of about 5,000 seedlings,” Dineshbabu says. “We are working on another nursery with an additional 5,000 seedling capacity and plan to provide technical support for a third nursery in collaboration with a roaster partner.” 

The plan is to continuously support these nurseries, Dineshbabu says. “We hope to establish several more nurseries using this model so we can reach more farmers with the seedlings they want.”  

Demo Plot Influences Variety Distribution

Sucafina Indonesia is also collaborating with ICCRI and World Coffee Research (WCR) to establish a demo plot. “Farmers can visit and compare the difference in yield and vigor between at least 2 varieties that ICCRI has developed,” Dineshbabu says. They will also demonstrate different propagation techniques, tree spacing, pruning, fertilizer application and weeding techniques. “We’re hopeful that the outcome of the demo plot may influence which seedlings the local forestry department will distribute, as it may show them that there is demand for additional varieties,” Daniel says.

Increasing their access to different seedling varieties helps farmers improve their overall yield and quality. Sucafina Indonesia is supporting local stakeholders who are creating seedling nurseries and distributing those seedlings to neighboring farmers. Keep an eye out for more project updates as the project progresses. In the meantime, experience the unique flavors of Indonesian coffees and select from our diverse assortment of producing partners. Contact your trader for more information and to sample available coffees.