At Origin Coffee Traders we strive to maintain close relationships with many of our suppliers at Origin and this includes having direct relationships with growers and farmers. Our strongest relationships can are evident with the Southern Regions of India where we source from our own plantations in addition to this we have strong relationships, forged over time with Guatemala and Colombia. Closer to home Origin Coffee Traders boasts long standing cooperation with the Eastern Highlands of PNG, specifically a village by the name of Kekasa, immersed in coffee plantations and economically dependent on its fruit this reality has come to symbolise the positive outcomes that can be established between buyers and growers when the relationships become direct.
It’s easy for us as consumers to sit at a café indulging conversations but how often do people really stop to think about where that coffee is from and the overwhelming difference in lifestyle between you as the consumer and the grower. From the moment we indulge in coffee it also becomes our responsibility to ensure the quality of life for those that make it possible at Origin.
In 2017 Origin Coffee Traders travelled to Kekasa to forge, not simply a long-lasting relationship ensuring supply, but also to better understand how our insatiable demand for green coffee affects the farmers, their families and lives first hand.
We spent time with the villagers who kindly opened their homes to us and proudly showed their plantations, varieties and processing methods.
It’s interesting to note that coffee in this region grows wild and the families in the villages have sections of the forest for themselves where they harvest every year without the use of fertilizers. Once the coffee is picked the farmers carry the fruit on their back and walk for 2 -3 days sometimes due to the bad terrain and lack of infrastructure to a central location where the brokers buy the coffee from them, after which the coffee is processed, mostly washed process, and made ready for export.
However, the coffee scene is slowly changing, there are some farmers who are investing in small nursery’s, such as the one we visited in the Eastern Highlands, Mohuveto village – Damien, who also works at the CIC (Coffee Industry Corporation) PNG along with his Grandfather Masa have nursery of 100000 coffee plants consisting of Arusha, Bourbon and Mundo Novo varieties which will eventually be planted in farms.
During our visit we also visited a school in Kekasa village named the Hagarowsh Elemantary school where, despite a lack of basic infrastructure and amenities, we had the pleasure of meeting some of the happiest and friendliest students we have encountered. This experience led us to combine our resources with GEPO Coffee Exports to fund the construction of additional classrooms at this school which is currently underway. We look forward to returning to the village in August this year.