Coffee and cocoa are two of five largest export commodities in Indonesia after rubber, palm oil and coconut, putting them in the same top export product group prioritized by the Indonesian government for national development. The strategic role brings major impact for the national economy, involving 1.96 million families of smallholder coffee farmers and 2.18 million families of smallholder cocoa farmers. (Central Bureau of Statistics: Economic Census 2013)
These two agricultural products are now feeling the pressures of the global climate change. Changes in harvesting seasons, decreased availability of land suitable for growing coffee, and also a decline in production volume have instigated supply shortages around the world while domestic consumption of coffee and cacao continually increase. Coffee consumption in 2015 has increased to 0.98 kg per Indonesian person per year (International Coffee Organization 2016) and cacao consumption has increased to 0.5 kg per person per year (Association of Indonesian Cocoa Industry 2016). Consequently, the two products are always in high demands nationally and internationally. The good news is, increased consumption has triggered growing downstream industries such as processing and turning the commodities into ready-for-consumption products, which has absorbed quite a number of local labors.
Adapting to climate change and making commodities more resistant to climate change, smallholder farmers need a better understanding of the local climate, ecosystem and farming methods that adopt agro-ecological principles. To address this issue, VECO Indonesia has conducted field schools on climate change and sustainable agriculture since 2014 in several locations. Furthermore, in 2014-2016 VECO Indonesia has also developed a program, bringing forward the inclusive business ideas, namely Sub Sector Development (SSD) and Inclusive Modern Market (IMM), specifically to target changes in the structural level of the value chain and help ensure sustainability of agricultural products to meet market demands. SSD and IMM purposely pursue the sustainability of coffee and cacao by fostering partnerships between private-sector buyers and VECO Indonesia’s farmers organization partners.