Papua New Guinea – FTO Okapa – Roots 1 Co-op – FLO ID 39891 B15587
Roots #1 Farmers Association is a cooperative of about 1,590 smallholder producers from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea: The association was started by farmer Tony Tokah in 2012 in an attempt to organize members of his community to deliver coffee more cost-effectively and share resources. Most farmers here don't have coffee "farms" but rather coffee "gardens," very small plots of land on which they grow the crops they need for the household as well as to sell for income. Coffee is an important cash crop, and organizing into a group with their neighbors and associates can help the farmers of Roots #1 earn a higher price for their offerings at the mill. Roots #1 also has a focus on encouraging women producers to participate in the coffee business.
Green-coffee buyer Piero Cristiani remembers his first trip to visit Roots #1, sitting in the back of an SUV with sideways seating, talking with Tony the whole way. On that first visit, the group's "warehouse" was still somewhat makeshift; today they have a full facility including Pinhalese equipment to do their own milling.
The members pick their coffee ripe and depulp it the same day. It's fermented dry for about 26–36 hours, depending on the temperature, and washed using channels after the fermentation is done. The coffee is dried on raised beds for 3–5 days, again depending on the weather.
For more information about coffee production in Papua New Guinea, visit our Papua New Guinea page.