Highland Organic Agricultural Cooperative

Buying Fairtrade coffee doesn't just support farmers, it supports entire communities. 

Daniel Kinne
Coffee Farmer, Highland Organic Agricultural Cooperative (HOAC), Papua New Guinea

Daniel Kinne is a second generation coffee farmer, chairman, and founding member of the Highland Organic Agricultural Cooperative (HOAC) in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and 85 percent of its population are smallholder farmers who produce 1.1 million bags - 6,600 tons of coffee a year. However, producing coffee in this land does not go without struggle.

Significant fluctuations in the global coffee price has a huge impact on coffee farmers like Daniel, making it difficult to plan for the future. But since partnering with Fairtrade, HOAC continues to empower their members to take pride in producing high quality goods and puts the future of their community into their own hands.

“We like Fairtrade because it allows us to benefit from a better price while taking care of our families. From nothing, we have built strong assets for the future.”

And Daniel knows how important quality is for the coffee he produces.

“Our primary objective is to help producers sell their coffee, improve quality, develop organic production and make a real difference to the life of the clan.”

Benefits beyond the coffee beans

HOAC is an association of 2,600 organic coffee growers scattered over 60 square kilometres of remote mountain terrain in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. With little government support provided to the region, Daniel looks to Fairtrade as a way he can help his family and the community.

“We are producing Fairtrade organic coffee and with the Fairtrade Premium we can see the future, we can become stronger using the Fairtrade Premium.”

It is estimated that between 50,000 to 60,000 people in the community benefit from the association.

After achieving Fairtrade certification in 2005, the Fairtrade Premium has supported HOAC to increase its capacity to produce large amounts of high quality coffee and take steps towards a brighter future. Investment in tools including coffee pulpers has helped keep consistency in pulping and ensures less beans are crushed in the production process.

The benefits of Fairtrade in Papua New Guinea aren’t just limited to the coffee gardens, but have had positive impacts for the whole community. HOAC, through the Fairtrade Premium, recently funded a water supply project for the local community worth over $65,000. Water is now being piped directly from the source in the hills behind the villages. Currently, there is one tap for every three houses, but it is hoped that the community will be able to extend the supply directly to each household. They have also built four new schools and teacher accommodation, while assisting with the construction of two schools in other villages.  

HOAC has also worked closely with local government and the Eastern Highlands Province Governor to achieve road improvements in the region.