Koperasi Baitul Qiradh Baburrayyan (KBQB)
Members: more than 8000 of which 15-20% are women
Cooperative’s Ethnic Composition: 80% Gayo, 15% Javanese, and 5% Others
Coffee Characteristics: Sweet and earthy
Harvest Season: Oct. - June
Export Season: Nov. - Sept.
The cooperative has 8,000 members in villages throughout Bener Meriah and Aceh Tengah around Lake Tawar. These members are organized at the village level into 123 groups, who sell to approximately 100 elected collectors. About 90% of the collectors are also farmers. The coop is structured so that each group of farmers elects a representative for the annual meeting; these representatives are not necessarily the same person as the collector. The chair of the coop is Rizwan Husin. He is a chartered accountant by training, though he also has his own 5ha coffee plot, and is currently serving his second two year term as chair of the coop. The coop shares an office with the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) in Takengon.
NCBA/USAID started their coffee operations in Aceh province about 2 years ago, after receiving a grant to do work in the area tied to economic rehabilitation after the tsunami. The project is overseen as part of NCBA's SE Asia projects under Sam Filliaci with local management by Joselito (Lito) Bombeta and David Boyce.
The NCBA facility is huge, capable of processing 1 container/day. The warehouse is currently employing about 300 people; at the peak in March, it will employ approximately 800. The average wage for a warehouse worker is the local minimum wage of 850,000 rp/month (app. $90US). All of the processing takes place at the plant in Takengon—every step except the actual loading of the export sacks into the container, which takes place near Medan at another NCBA facility. NCBA bought an existing building, added onto it and renovated it to create a large, white-tiled interior, state of the art facility. They have machines for hulling, destoning, two machines to sort by size, two to sort by density, and three conveyor belts of women sorting, as well as a bank of sorting tables for second-rate coffee. They have more than 4 hectares of drying space, some of it on plastic tarps on grass and some of it on plastic tarps on concrete. Their projected volume this year is 6000 metric tonnes, or 100 containers.
* The cooperative has a micro-finance bank that coop members can join.
* A land rehabilitation project focuses on bringing land abandoned during the conflict back into production. The goal is to distribute 6,000 coffee seedlings over three years, a program which is currently in its second year and has approximately 2,000 applicants waiting to join. The farmers have 6 years to repay—a three year grace period while the plant is maturing wherein no interest accrues, and then three years to pay it off. The criteria for participating are: to own of land abandoned due to the conflict, to be willing to grow organic, and to not have membership in another organization.
* Farmers can also get loans to purchase weed-whackers—a popular way to weed here. So far, 300 weed-whackers have been sold.
* Farmers can also deposit money in the coop bank. They can withdraw it after 6 months and earn a small percent interest.
* The collectors also have access to loans at 9%/year for development of the infrastructure that they need— coffee pulping facilities, etc.
In the future…
Next year they plan to expand the micro-finance program to include loans for compost-making infrastructure, something which is needed since most farmers sell cherry to the collector so it gets depulped off the farm.
In the future, the coop would like to bring the container loading function that they currently have to do near Medan back to Takengon and find a way to load containers themselves. They also plan to build and remodel schools in the affiliated villages. This was suggested as an affordable roaster project with the help of NCBA/USAID which have already built 6 pre-/post-natal clinics in the region.
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