Enormous Hope for Cocoa Farmers Improving Quality, Increasing Incomes

March 7, 2012

Amomotu, Kolaka, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Samsuddin is a smallholder cocoa farmer with a 1.5 hectare farm in a village in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. 

“Before joining the ASKA Program [AMARTA Sulawesi Kakao Alliance] I did not understand SNI [Indonesia National Standard] quality requirements and had no motivation to produce better quality cocoa as I could not differentiate between good and bad quality cocoa.

Through the program, I have learnt how to improve the quality and yield of my cocoa farm. Most importantly I could sell my better quality cocoa to the PT Olam (WCF member) local buying station and get a price which was much better than what I usually get from my next door pengumpul [local collector].”

Samsuddin is one of 25 members of the Amomotu-based farmer group Bukit Harapan, meaning “Enormous Hope.” Bukit Harapan is one of 50 farmer groups across Southeast Sulawesi that received training in methods to improve yield of their cocoa farms, as well as methods to improve quality. Participating farmers receive classroom and practical training on modules such as pruning, post harvest practices, diseases and insects that affect cocoa pods, and grafting techniques among others.

Reflecting on the results of his training, Samsuddin notes, “This year I have earned more from my farm than in prior years. And, hopefully after the fasting month of Ramadan ends, I will be able to buy new clothes for my children and celebrate a better Lebaran (major festival of Eid) with my family.”

Hardi, Olam’s oldest corporate social responsibility staff member and farmer trainer from Masamba, also shares his perspective on the training program: “I still remember when in 2005 representatives from Olam and Blommer came down to Palopo to start their farmer training program from Olam’s buying station in Pinrang. When I joined, it was with a thought that maybe this will also close down after a few months like most other such programs.”  Once a farmer himself, Hardi is pleased with the success of the farmer training noting, “It’s unbelievable that in two years the program has expanded with so many new farmer groups, buying stations and training staff across South and Southeast Sulawesi.”