It’s always a rewarding experience meeting one of our fine producers in the flesh. Last week the chairman of the Highland Organic Agriculture Cooperative (HOAC) in Papua New Guinea, Daniel Kinne dropped in with some friendly Fairtrade representatives to Sacred Grounds for a meet and greet.
It was a reunion of sorts as our Marketing Manager, Alexandra Woodward, had visited the co-op and met Daniel last year (check out her Tour of PNG post here…) After a cup of our own fine Single Origin PNG coffee (shameless product plug), Daniel shared the struggles, the achievements and the dreams of his farmers back home.
- Signed up to Fairtrade in 2005
- Has over 2600 members
- Produces over 600 tonnes of coffee each year
- Nursery houses over 60,000 seedlings
- Is in the Okapa region, Eastern Highlands Province of PNG
- Covers over 60 square kilometres of mountainous land
A HOAC farmer was asked if there was one ‘miracle’ they could have right now, what would it be? The answer was to open their eyes and find all the roads in tip top condition. Sounds simple but for the people of HOAC it’s a daily struggle that’s quite disheartening.
Because of the large area that the co-op covers, good roads are vital for farmers to get their crop to pulping stations and the green beans to port in good condition. In the past year, two vehicles have been damaged thanks to extremely poor roads – an incredibly frustrating thing for Daniel and the co-op. With very little government assistance in this area, they have to rely on provisions from the Fairtrade Premium and support from agencies like Oxfam, Care Australia and local organisation, CIC.
The muddy, impassable roads also make access to healthcare and education a real battle. Who wants to work as a teacher in these remote locations when it’s nigh on impossible to get to school everyday? And how do you get to hospital or your local clinic when you have to walk, especially when you’re not feeling 100%?
While life is difficult, there are signs of hope. Over the past few years, HOAC have used the Fairtrade Premium to improve the main access to the co-operative, however the road between the co-op and public roads remain a problem.
The premium has also been used to fund fresh water projects, now being extended to 11 villages over the next three years. They’ve also been able to create four new school rooms with plans to build two new schools in surrounding villages.
Daniel has big plans for HOAC including a dream for the co-op to become an exporter, cutting out the middleman. Daniel’s ambitions for the future are also to improve on quality and handling of the coffee throughout the entire supply chain. This includes getting beans pulped quicker by building better roads, roasting and cupping their own beans, sending micro lots of green beans to roasters for testing and educating the growers on the best practices for quality control.
Sacred Grounds Organic and HOAC
Daniel’s story was simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking. We were all fired up to keep supporting our Fairtrade producers around the world, doing our little bit to help them create a better life for themselves and their community. In Australia, we really don’t fathom what Fairtrade does on a day-to-day basis. It’s literally a life saver for those in the third world, giving them practical support so they can flourish. Buying Fairtrade products makes this work possible, so spread the word and make your own mark on this world!
How can we get the word out about the importance of Fairtrade?