When Yuli Swandy, a mother and coffee farmer from Palopo Toraja, South Sulawesi started her coffee business two years back, she never thought it will be growing so fast. “I wouldn’t dare to dream at all” She said with laughter during my conversation in her exhibition booth at Agro & Food Expo 2010 in JHCC Jakarta recently. Prior to manage her own coffee distribution business, she has been farming coffee and selling it to coffee broker, with a fluctuated profit margin, but mostly with dictated price. She thought, why not forming a collective farmers organization to increase bargaining power to coffee broker. A smart strategy that will create a system to improve a substantial coffee price rather than decided by broker.
“How many coffee farmers under your supervision ?” I asked her, but she humbly refused to answer my question. “Hundreds and counting” a representative from her booth whispered the answer without her knowledge. Knowing the number, I was so amazed with her achievement, perhaps it was the reason to justify her presents in the largest agricultural exhibition held by Ministry of Agriculture, to inspire others. While coffee farmers there are ensured with a good price so far, they are farming with organic method in order to protect the environment, an important value added for international market.
Below are some pictures taken during the exhibition :