Mahyana Sari (33) has been part of KSU Arinagata for the past 8 years, first as an Administrator and now as the elected Secretary of the cooperative. She is married with three children (two sons aged 10 and 5 years and one daughter aged 7). She has a degree in English Literature gained in at the Padjajaran University-Indonesia.
Mahyana’s duties within the cooperative are far ranging. From overseeing the implementation of the cooperative program including delivering service to members, maintaining and overseeing the implementation of Fairtrade and Organic standards to preparing the annual report for the AGM and dealing with business transactions. She has also participated in many different types of coffee training such as roasting, cupping and waste management.
KSU Arinagata cooperative is a Gayo Arabica Coffee producer and exporter specializing in organic coffee. The cooperative has 2,582 selected coffee farmers covering 39 Villages in Ace Tengah district of Aceh Province, Indonesia. The KSU Arinagata cooperative evolved from an existing coffee trading and exporting company which originally worked with farmers from seven villages in the Aceh province, but these farmers officially joined as a cooperative in 2007.
Finding a good market channel for their coffee has been the biggest challenge for these farmers. During the armed conflict between Sumatran separatists and the Indonesian army, many were forced to flee the area. Only recently have they began returning, some women as widows, and with very little income. Many families live in poor conditions. They are traditional farmers, mostly of Gayonese origin.
Most members of the cooperative produce on a small area of land, which provides 80 to 90% of household income. Farmers may also sell vegetables, fruit, soya bean, spices and fish in local markets. Fruit trees are intercropped with their organic coffee, and this adds to the typical Sumatran coffee profile
The cooperative has its own processing unit where the coffee parchment undergoes double processing before being delivered to the exporter’s warehouse in Medan. The cooperative sells unsorted beans to the exporter who will sort, clean and grade the coffee for export. Arinagata is in partnership with several exporters based in Medan, such as PT Mulyo Kawi, PT Mas Kawi, and CV Aridelta. Their main buyers: Inter Amerika Coffee and Paragon (US).
The long supply chain in Indonesia can be very disadvantageous for farmers as coffee passes through ‘collectors’ before reaching the cooperative. KSU has collectors who are elected by the members.
Through Fairtrade the members have benefitted from training in good coffee agriculture, training in household finance management, field school for farmers, women empowerment projects. They have used the Premium projects such as road construction to the farm, a small library in the village, electrical instalation, and sanitary needs within the community. As well as helping victims of earthquakes and floods in the local districts (see below for more detail).
The Fairtrade Premium has been used in these areas:
KSU have purchased land for construction of a processing unit. This was financed against the amount of Fairtrade Premium.
KSU used the Fairtrade Premium to organise small shops called Waserda (see right). This provides access to daily necessities at reasonable prices. They have built these small communal businesses in 10 villages.
KSU Arinagata, transport as simple as a motorbike, or infrastructure in the form of a wooden bridge, has improved coffee collection from difficult to reach areas.
In Aceh, the KSU Arinagata community have suffered high rainfall and fatal landslides. The cooperative have used the Fairtrade Premium to create a social fund. This provides first aid and food provisions for victims of landslides.
- Education is expensive for farmers. Most KSU members manage to send their children to school but further education is often impossible and most return to farming.
- Reliance on income from coffee is a problem for the community. The village groups are developing plans to buy cows. Not only will the cows provide milk to sell in the market, they intend to use the manure to improve the quality of the soil, and support their organic production system.
- Soil fertility has suffered in recent years due to heavy rains. Natural fertile matter has been washed away and the soil can be very sandy. The cooperative are planning to make strong investments in this using the Fairtrade Premium.
The profile above was provided to us to use by the Fairtrade Foundation, you can find out more about the Fairtrade Fortnight and the foundation here.
600 – 1,200m
Under 1.2 hectares on average
Double sorted Sumatra Mandheling grade 1. Medium to full body, medium acidity, berries, complex notes of orange, leather, caramel.
September – May
Members of KSU Arinagata ©Fair Trade USA
‘Waserda’: KSU Arinagata is organizing small shops in remote communities. © Fairtrade International
Mahyanah is the secretary of KSU Arinagata. She’s standing in front of temporary housing following an earthquake that destroyed the cooperative headquarters in 2013. ©Triangle Coffee