Get more experience with Hunter Subscription

How do Sumatran coffee farmers respond to soil nutrient depletion?


Sumatra, a large island in western Indonesia, is famous for its uniquely rich andisols and tropical climate, ideal for growing specialty Arabica coffee. Sumatran specialty coffee is known for its unique flavor and high quality. In recent years, soil quality has declined sharply, threatening coffee growth. So, how do Sumatran coffee farmers respond to this situation? Explore with 43 Factory Coffee Roaster!


Sumatran coffee farmers are facing the pressure of soil nutrient depletion


According to research by experts, soil fertility in Sumatra’s coffee-growing areas in Indonesia has decreased significantly compared to the 1990s, especially in areas adjacent to forests such as Batutegi. The reason is likely that the watershed in the Batutegi Forest has almost dried up after months of drought, causing the soil to lose moisture gradually, lack silt, and dry out. The conversion of protective forests into agricultural land and single-origin coffee cultivation also causes several problems related to pollution and soil erosion. At the same time, the price of chemical fertilizers is escalating, putting pressure on production costs. Many Sumatran coffee farmers are facing challenges in terms of degraded soil health and fertilizer shortages, threatening the bean quality, quality of coffee growing, and livelihoods.


Solutions for Sumatran coffee farmers


With the challenges of worsening soil quality and skyrocketing fertilizer prices, local agencies have partnered with Yayasan IAR Indonesia (YIARI) to help farmers turn the situation around.


Convert to organic farming


One of the solutions first applied by Sumatran coffee farmers is organic farming. This method, implemented by the Sumber Makmur association, is the result of YIARI’s training program. The training helps farmers grow fertilizer at home and teaches techniques for combining plants that can naturally kill pests, avoiding the use of pesticides. With these support efforts, Sumatran coffee farmers have begun to reuse agricultural waste and produce their organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers.

nông dân trồng cà phê Sumatra

Sumatran coffee farmers practice organic farming and agroforestry


Implement agroforestry


Improving planting areas according to agroforestry is also part of the improvement cooperation plan with YIARI. Monoculture farmers are encouraged to guide and support the implementation of intercropping of crops and afforestation. Seedlings are grown in containers made from bamboo at the nursery they established. Farmers also intercrop many different crops intending to become an agroecological system that diversifies production and naturally upgrades soil quality.


Some other measures


In addition to implementing improvements in farming methods and techniques, Sumatran coffee farmers are also supported to return nitrogen to the soil. YIARI also began surveying locations to release animals, including critically endangered Sumatran slow lorises (Nycticebus hilleri) and pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina), into the wild. Additionally, the local Forestry Department also strives to propose policies and actions to protect the primary forest adjacent to the community’s agricultural land.

nông dân trồng cà phê Sumatra

Sumatran coffee farmers strive to practice good farming practices

It can be seen that Sumatran coffee farmers are facing difficulties due to a serious decline in soil quality. However, with efforts to improve and transform their practices towards sustainability such as agroforestry, integrated farming, organic farming, and coffee growing areas, these areas will soon experience positive changes.

Follow 43 Factory Coffee Roaster’s news channel to discover useful information about the industry.

Related articles:

– Do not add this to coffee if you do not want to diminish its effectiveness!

– Why do roasters need to maintain the freshness of roasted coffee?

– Bridging the Gap: Addressing Inequality in Coffee

5/5 - (1 vote)