Producer Profile – Papua New Guinea
Name HOAC Highlands Organic Agriculture Co-operative
Established 2003 Fairtrade Certified Since 2005 Members 2,600 Region Eastern Highland province of the Purosa/Okapa Region Soil Type Volcanic Life zones Hill and montane forest Altitude 1300 - 1750 m Variety 1800 meters Method Washed Harvest Period June to September
Roast Profile: Medium
Cupping Notes: Chocolate, nutty flavor with a slightly fruity finish of cherry undertones and hints of vanilla. Balance and smooth aftertaste.
Best served: Plunger
Papua New Guinea, one of our closest neighbours, has long been a favourite of Sacred Grounds; in fact, it’s been our top-selling single origin for almost a decade now. Grown in the rich volcanic soils of the PNG Eastern Highlands the rich flavours of this origin have ensured it as a staple in our coffee range.
To cement our close relationship with PNG our Marketing Manager, Ali Woodward, accompanied Fairtrade Australia on a trip to PNG in 2014 to meet our producers and see how supporting Fairtrade and Organic is making an impact on their community.
Daniel Kinne, the chairman for the Co-operative HOAC (Highland Organic Agriculture Cooperative), was keen to share with us the numerous improvements their community has been working on with the help of the Fairtrade Premium money they receive. One of which was a fresh water project which spans across 11 villages bringing better access to clean drinking water to the communities making up the Cooperative. They’ve also been able to build four new school rooms and have plans to build two new schools in surrounding villages.
Since meeting Daniel in PNG, he’s also made a reciprocal visit to our roasting facility in Sydney. During his visit we were able to show him what we do with his coffee once it reaches us.
Organic is also an important factor for the HOAC Co-operative. Besides the wonderful health benefits that Organic brings us, the coffee drinkers, what organic means to producer communities is the prevention of harmful chemicals from entering the soil and local water systems. Organic also means that the coffee is grown naturally under the shade of the canopy. In the HOAC Coop coffee grows freely throughout the natural environment, meaning that the local wildlife and environment is preserved and protected.
Impacts of the Fairtrade Premium
The Fairtrade Premium has made a huge impact in our community with benefits for every family, not just coffee grower. Now we have hope for a better future.
– Daniel Kinne, Chairman of HOAC
One of the major concerns for the Fairtrade growers and the local communities in the area around HOAC is poor road access, making it difficult for them to trade their produce. To address this problem a proportion of HOAC’s Fairtrade Premium was allocated to the improvement of the local roads and to cover the cost of the petrol to run the grading machines. The improvements in the road network has improved access to market and hence improved business for small coffee farmers, and permitted better access to education and health services for locals. The maintenance of the roads is done by local residents that live along and near to the roads, providing them with much needed paid work. Additionally, HOAC are planning to purchase a disused mill in a neighbouring district and start milling their coffee ready for export. This will provide greater returns for farmers as they move up the supply chain capturing more of the value for processing their coffee.
Water is not in short supply in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, however access to drinkable water has been challenging especially as activity upstream has contaminated water ways for those further downstream. HOAC, through their Fairtrade Premium, has recently funded a water supply project for the community. Water is now being piped directly from the source in the hills behind the village. Currently there is one tap for every 3 houses, but the community plans to eventually extend the supply directly to each household. HOAC are now carrying out a needs assessment with other communities for similar water projects.
The cooperative also purchased new beds, mattresses and essential medicines to four Health Centres and aid posts.