Lampung. Indonesia is left behind Vietnam in coffee production, while in fact Vietnam in the past learned how to cultivate coffee from Indonesia. Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated this when leading a meeting on the development of local coffee at the official residence of Lampung Governor on Feb. 13.

“Government must support coffee farmers to boost their productivity to improve their wellbeing as well as to attain our target to be the second largest coffee producer in the world after Brazil,” said the Vice President.

The world coffee consumption, he continued, increases up to 15 percent per year, yet the country’s coffee production only increases 1 percent per year, stagnant with 600 thousand tons per hectare annually.

“This makes us rank in the fourth place of the world coffee producers which is behind Vietnam with 630 thousand tons per hectare per year,” he said.

For that reason, the Vice President instructed the Agriculture Ministry to support local farmers in terms of providing capital loans, seeds and fertilizer, agricultural counseling, and land rejuvenation.

To Mr Kalla, coffee plantation, like cocoa plantation, is community-based plantation the profit of which is directly enjoyed by the farmers, different from that run by foreign investors.

“Yet there are some drawbacks in the management of such farming and thus we need technology to tackle them,” he said.

At the same meeting, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman stated that his ministry has a target to provide capital loans through the government’s micro-credit guarantee program (KUR) worth under state-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) 4.4 trillion rupiahs.

Besides, he added, the ministry also targeted land certification for 600 thousand hectare of coffee farmlands, as well as providing more agricultural counsellors and advanced technology in a bid to increase coffee production.

The Vice President welcome these initiatives with notes that the ministry should invite university students to join in giving counseling to farmers as part of their internship program. That is why, he added, it is important to join a cooperation with universities.

Dialog with coffee farmers

After the meeting, the Vice President had a chance to hold a dialog with coffee farmers from several coffee farmers associations fostered by PT. Nestle Indonesia since 1994.

Those farmers complained about the high interest rate of KUR. They also wanted government to improve the infrastructure, as this is vital to their coffee transporting to the collecting factory, as well as intensifying counselling due to the rapidly changing climate recently.

Mr Kalla in response appreciated PT. Nestle Indonesia and the coffee farmers that work together to increase Indonesia’s coffee production. He also felt happy knowing that the farmers are committed to increase coffee production up to 1.2 million tons per hectare annually in four year, to attain the target of becoming the world second largest coffee produce.