Fairtrade coffee farmer Daniel visits Australia

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 - Here at Fairtrade, we love sharing the stories of Fairtrade farmers who are making a real difference in the communities and the world around them. 
Marketing and Communications Intern, Chelsea Chamberlain, writes about Daniel Kinne's visit to New Zealand and Australia and how his story can inspire consumers. 

Meet Daniel Kinne!

Daniel is a second generation coffee farmer and part of the Highlands Organic Agricultural Cooperative (HOAC), an association of 2,600 coffee growers located in remote regions of the Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea.  
Since becoming Fairtrade Certified in 2005, it is estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 people have received benefits from the association.  Production levels have increased each year, growing from 200 tons of green bean in 2005 to over 1,200 tons by the end of 2012.  
Daniel has been on quite the adventure during this year’s Fair Trade Fortnight, as he has been traveling all around Australia and New Zealand, sharing his story with kids at local schools, businesses and even over the radio.  

Daniel has a passion for helping people look after their communities and surrounding environment.  With a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology, Daniel helps teach his fellow farmers about the importance of protecting the trees and the earth.
Engaging in organic composting techniques and good soil management are just a few of the training topics offered.  He also encourage farmers to used coffee cherry pulp as an organic fertilizer.  HOAC consistently works with Fairtrade to identify environmental risk areas and plans to prevent environmental degradation.

Papua New Guinea’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and 85% 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.
HOAC farmers are scattered over 60 sq kms of remote mountain terrain connected by very poor road infrastructure. This creates challenges like poor communication between members, high transport costs, and difficulty accessing markets.

As well as spanning a wide geographic region, the association includes members from two local tribes, the North and South Fore. These tribes have historically been at war and working together doesn’t come without some difficulty.
With little government support provided to the HOAC region, Daniel looks to Fairtrade as a way to “do something to help ourselves. We are producing Fairtrade organic coffee and with the Fairtrade Premium we can see the future, we can become stronger using the Fairtrade Premium. Fairtrade is the way to go and we will stick with it and the future ahead of us will be bright.”

Furthermore, the Fairtrade Premium has helped HOAC further its capacity to produce large amounts of high quality coffee and take steps towards a brighter future. Training has been developed to help farmers recognize the best cherry to pick to ensure uniformity in colour.  Investment in tools like coffee pulpers has helped keep consistency in pulping and less beans are crushed in the production process.
The CIC (Coffee Industry Corporation, PNG’s national coffee industry body) has repeatedly graded HOAC beans in the top category for quality and size. Coffee brands like Kokako in New Zealand and Sacred Grounds in Australia buy their coffee beans from HOAC and Daniel sees the benefit that comes with Fairtrade Standards which “is the Minimum Price and the Premium which is 20 cents per pound”.

The benefits of the Fairtrade system 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 approx $68,000 AUD.
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.  

By 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.

Daniel has “a big ambition, that we would be the biggest organisation in the district, owned and controlled by farmers. I want HOAC to show to the country that there is so much power in farmers and if we follow good governance programs this power can be unlocked. We are doing all this and working together in harmony. From nothing, we have built strong assets for the future. I want to show the country that they have the power. If we work together we can become somebody.”

Aussies continued support of the Fairtrade system contributes significantly to the success of farmers like Daniel. Learn more about how Fairtrade empowers other farmers around the world this Fair Trade Fortnight and get involved by taking action at www.powerofyou.org.au

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