The Cooperative Gayo Linge Organic Coffee was founded in 2008 in the Bener Meriah area on the island of Sumatra in Western Indonesia. The group is composed of over 1,000 farmers from villages throughout this central mountain area in Sumatra known for its Gayo coffees. Cooperative members are not only coffee farmers but also village collectors (local traders) and government leaders of the local villages. The cooperative stresses the involvement of the village government leaders in helping its producer group encourage other coffee farmers and members to join and participate in Gayo Linge. The cooperative evolved from an organic coffee producer group organized by the current cooperative chairman, Mr. Shalat. He is a local coffee agent (trader) who has bought parchment coffee from village collectors to sell to local exporters. Aside from being a trader, Mr. Shalat is also a small coffee farmer who intends to focus on growing the cooperative’s reputation as an international producer of quality coffees. Gayo Linge’s immediate goals are to train and build capacity among its members to improve the quality of its coffees. All members of Cooperative Gayo Linge Organic Coffee are traditional small-holder coffee farmers that depend mainly on coffee for their living. Many families were forced to abandon their coffee gardens during the armed conflict in Aceh Province, and as a result of the violent past, some members of the cooperative are widows. The coffee farmers are of Gayonese, Javanese and Acehnese ethnic origin. They live in simple, mostly wooden houses; most have access to electricity, but drinking water supply is insufficient during the dry season. While the farmers’ major source of income is coffee (which represents 60 to 90 percent of total household income), most families also sell vegetables, fruits and palm sugar, and most adults work as hired laborers (in home or road construction, or picking of coffee and weeding in other coffee farms) during the off-season. Borrowing money during the off-season is a common practice and most obtain an interest-free loan from local traders or collectors. GLOC is relatively new to Fair Trade, but the cooperative is making advances in developing its strategy for management of community development funds. Farmers want to invest in developing reliable and safe drinking water sources and to improve roads not yet accessible by car. Most members’ farms are located one hour by car to the cooperative main warehouses; however, two regions are not yet accessible by motorized transport. Cooperative members are also interested in building an export and processing facility.
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