“This December should have been a dry season. Instead, it’s raining, raining, and raining.” told Armia Ahmad, the co-operative chairman.
The increase of unpredictable climate makes the coffee farmers in Indonesia, especially Sumatra region need to find their ways to cope. The climate change is hitting on their harvests. It’s been analysed and noticed that coffee harvests have fallen up to 50% by some groups of farmers in Indonesia, northern island’s Gayo Highlands to be exact. Plants damaged are mostly caused by unexpected sudden rain or dry spells.
Rain also has the ability to affect the efforts to let the coffee beans dry under the sun. If it’s done with warmer temperature it’s like inviting pests party and diseases. Lower altitudes now threaten the high quality of Arabica coffee beans which is known for the highlands.
Co-operatives who sell their certified fair trade coffees are using money from the scheme to invest in the whole impacts of the rising temperatures. Producers are able to receive a guaranteed lower price through Fairtrade. But, only for an additional premium coffee that the communities have decided for themselves.
In the Highlands of Gayo, these means to install the electricity, build some libraries, cervical cancer screening, and purchase some ambulances, also some pruning scissors, strimmers and held trainings in agricultural aspect.
However, the co-operatives also try to prevent the climate change by hitting the productivity of farmers, distributing new, more buoyant varieties of coffee plant have been grown and developed. The farmers also support more trees around the area to be planted, to shade trees in the coffee grown area to protect the harvest, minimise the risk of sloping hillsides, erosion and add more income alternatives to be sold. The plantations would be avocados, oranges or timber to diminish risks of fall harvest. Challenges will always be there for the coffee co-operatives. Young bright people looking for alternative jobs to farming and ageing coffee included.
Moreover, Armia Ahmad, the chairman of Permata Gayo co-operative which already has 2,000 member going strong, said that “The climate has already changed, for example the harvest is normally starting from October to January, but now we can’t predict it anymore. The harvest hasn’t come by December and this year, it should have been the dry season, but it’s been raining, raining, and raining.”
They’re providing new seedling. Hundreds, even thousands of them. More variety of coffee for the members, and built a canopy for the dry area to prevent rain disturb and damage the coffee growth. We don’t want the harvest to fall again by drastic percentage.
They’re prepared for everything. They have avocado trees in case the income won’t make it because of the climate change and what it’ll do to the precious coffee. Other region’s co-operatives, KBQB, reported a shift of increasing pests and diseases in high altitudes region and about 50% drop of harvest caused by the weather.
The climate change itself is an environmental problem and can possibly caused by other local environmental problems such as illegal logging, the protected natural forests still being hitted. Bald forests mean swift flooding, landslides if it rains. The environmental has to be measured and the team has been informed by some specific sources that climate change has affected Indonesia over all and planting trees could really be the solution.
Rizwan Husin, a co-operative chairman told, “We distribute trees to farmers so they can plant on their farms, and we advise the farmers to grow shade trees, and on the unproductive land to grow trees for wood and avocado.” The farmers have also been told to plant over 24,000 trees over 32 hectares to help the land for a sustainable agroforestry. However, he admitted that he was really worried about the climate change. In the next 50 years, there might be no more Gayo coffee. A local movement won’t be enough, but a world movement needed for the climate.