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APKOAsosiasi Petani Kopi Organik (APKO) Founded in 2006 Located in the regencies of Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah Approximately 800 members spread out across 15 villages Coffee growing altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 meters above sea level Harvest season: from Sept to June Fair Trade certified in 2009.
Background and History APKO was founded in March 2006 with the mission of improving the living standards of its members. In March 2007, under the umbrella group of PPKGO, APKO began exporting organic certified coffee through an American exporter, ForesTrade, who helps commercialize and export the coffee of Indonesian coops to North America. As APKO grew, they began to look outside of PPKGO and Forestrade. In March 2008, APKO teamed up with exporter Ujang Jaya, in Medan, who continues to process and export their coffee. In 2009, they became FLO certified.
Cooperative Structure APKO currently has around 800 members (2009) who are organized in 15 villages within in the regencies (districts) of Aceh Tenang (5 villages) and Bener Meriah (10 villages). Among these members, a small portion grows Robusta in the small village of Alam Jaya, Bener Meriah, but the majority grow Arabica in the 14 other villages. Members elect 16 sub-unit managers or "collectors" as well as 15 delegates. The board of directors is a well balanced blend of old and young members and farmers, delegates, collectors and staff members are invited to participate in meetings. The organization operates with the help and support of a well balanced group of people, all of whom show an incredible amount of dedication and interest in the successful functioning of the coop.
Harvest APKO members grow their coffee between 1000m to 1500m above sea level. In general, they harvest their cherries between September and June, making the ideal shipping period between November and August. The average yield per hectare is about 9,960 kg of cherries for Arabica which converts to about 24 bags of exportable green. The coop hopes to export 70 containers in the 2009-2010 season (Sep - Jul).
Facilities APKO's offices and main warehouse for wet processing are located in the village of Kenawat Redelong. The warehouse manager, cupper, and employees in charge of the pulping and drying are hired by APKO. The coop is renovating the center (adding a huller) to better centralize the wet processing in this one central location. APKO is in charge of partially drying green beans (14% moisture content); then the beans are shipped to Medan to be dry processed by Ujang Jaya coop. They also have a sample roaster and a cupping lab in which they can better manage and track the quality of the coop's coffee.
Fair Trade Given that APKO itself was established in relatively recent years and became FLO certified even more recently, the coop has spent the better part of the last several years strengthening its organization and membership. The 2009 Coop Coffees visit gave them a better understanding about Fair Trade and what it actually means: open contracts, direct relationships, profit and risk-sharing, etc. for them as a producer group. It also marked an unprecedented opportunity to meet with an importer and discuss with us directly the terms of trade. While APKO is just in the beginning stages of development both as a functional coffee cooperative as well as an effective Fair Trade organization, their determination to sell high quality coffee and improve the livelihoods of their member in doing so certainly bodes well! And Coop Coffees and Cafe Campesino are thrilled to work with APKO and further develop our direct relationship with them.
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