Coffee is a Sad Story, We Want to Tell a Happy Story

Coffee is a superior commodity which needs to be taken seriously.
There are more than half a million hectares which are suitable for coffee plantations.
In the Dutch era, there was time of a great harvest, which was then destroyed leaving sadness.
We want to make a happy story for the nation.

PUNCAK BINTANG: One by one such historical background was revealed by Basuki Suhardiman to 17 coffee farmers of Buntis village, Cimenyan Town, Cimenyan, Bandung. Basuki Suhardiman is a researcher in ITB ComLabs (computer service center), who are active in Odesa Indonesia Organization supervising farmers in North Bandung Area (KBU).

On Friday evening, 31 Maret 2017, farmers who belong to “Community of Buntis Coffee Farmers” gathered. The establishment of such community was also accommodated by Odesa Indonesia in order that the farmers in the Puncak Bintang area develop solidarity, actively participate in the scholarly forum, and encourage the use of appropriate technology to modernize agricultural activities.

History of West Java’s Coffee
Before going into something more technical and into program development, Basuki shared the history of coffee. Basuki started with the story of Cultuurstelsel. He said, during the Cultuurstelsel in West Java, in the year of 1830, the Dutch cultivated vanilla. Three-year process did not produce a good harvest. Then in 1833, they turned into cultivating coffee. The first harvest in 1877 was a success.

“Then, because of the success the Dutch became more aggressive in cultivating coffee. Farmers were forced to massively plant coffee which spread to 1,200 hectare. Until 20 years later, the Dutch reaped a great harvest. If we read Peter Carey’s book about the Java war or Diponegoro war then we calculate (the costs of the war). They spent 700 trillion, the same amount of money that was gone from BLBI (Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance). And the debt to the Dutch can be paid using the result of the harvest,” explained Basuki.

Then in 1870, Dutch East Indies Government issued a privatization program. That was when Pengalengan area was picked for a special program for coffee plantations. While for other plants, such as tea, they were grown in areas such as Boscha, Ciwidey, Rancabali, etc. by the Dutch.

Then, in 1921 until 1925 coffee plants in Pangalengan were devastated by rust fungus, which was known as Hemileia Vastatrix B. Because at that time it had not been treated properly, the fungus ate away almost all of the coffee. Until 80 years later there was still no effort to restore coffee plantations in Pengalengan. Then, in the year of 2000, that was when coffee was being grown again.

“So, that’s the story. That is a sad story. Now we and friends from Odesa Indonesia want to make a happy story about coffee for the nation,” stated Basuki.

Basuki also showed that the results of the analysis by Odesa Indonesia revealed in only Bandung Area there were more than 600,000 areas with the height of more than 1,000 MASL, which will be very suitable for coffee plantations.

Odesa Mentoring
To develop coffee cultivation, Odesa Indonesia makes a move with the principle of “grounding in togetherness”, which means to understand the scope of nature and the life of farmers, including the scope of technology and marketing, and to make the move together through a good organizational movement.

“That is why we need to start from germination. Because we believe superior species will be better at productivity. With new and good seeds, later coffee plants will be improved, and the probability of harvest production will be higher from each tree. Our target is each tree will produce 8-10 kg when the tree is more than five years old. There’s already the science for everything. We will use that,” he clarified.

Basuki also said agricultural science is actually not that difficult because when it comes to plant cultivation, farmers already possess extensive experience. However, the treatment, the reaping, the post-harvest management, and the marketing need to be managed with a continuous monitoring program and not just a training. In order to improve the agricultural sector, Odesa Indonesia believes that a cultivation program will only be successful if it is done with a continuous monitoring and if it aims to achieve the well-being of the people in the village.

“Because in Buntis, some already own a coffee plantation, then the monitoring will be done directly after the harvest. It can start from other plants, such as cat whisker plants, which can be harvested earlier in three months. We will also grow other types of plants for afforestation, and plants to be grown in polybags in the garden so farmers can have additional income,” he said.-Sadur Sentosa. (Translated by Steve, Portalkata Indonesia)

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