Our Work at Origin
INTEGRATION // EDUCATION // COLLABORATION
Karst Organics spends six months of the year at origin working directly with our partner farmers from the moment the first cherry is picked until our coffee sets sail for the UK. This allows us to not only focus on the quality of the coffee, but most importantly, the quality of life for the farmers who are directly involved in producing it. At the heart of our philosophy is the necessity for investment in infrastructure and farms whilst also prioritising training programs as key to improve farmer knowledge and ultimately coffee quality.
We want consumers to know that they are purchasing coffee from a supplier who focusses on improving the resources of their partner farmers whilst also ensuring better income for their families and the community at large. With full transparency and traceability, we know where our coffee comes from and who has been involved every step of the way.
Our work to date
In 2018, Karst Organics funded the construction of a new centralised processing facility for the Rotutu cooperative, our first partner farmer group. In addition, funding was provided for a storage facility to be built later in the year. These allowed for consistency and quality during processing whilst also ensuring parchment could be kept in optimum condition.
At the beginning of 2019, we supported the installation of new water pipes to the centralised processing plant for improved water supply allowing greater consistency during processing. This also provided some houses within the local community access to a direct water source which they otherwise wouldn’t have had.
In May 2019, we collaborated with the Associasaun Café Timor (ACT) to provide training programs around quality coffee processing and coffee cupping, enabling farmers to have a better understanding of their product and how different methods affect the final flavour of the coffee. A strong emphasis was initially placed on selective picking – and moving away from strip picking – to highlight that the quality of the final coffee is highly dependent on the ripeness of the cherry that is picked.
In May 2020, a new pulping machine was purchased for the processing facility to ease the strain placed on the workers during pulping, as previously only a manual pulping machine had been available. In addition, further support was given for the construction of 40 African drying beds, 20 for Rotutu and 20 for other cooperatives that we have begun working with.
100% of all coffee sales from the 2019 harvest were reinvested into the community of Letefoho during the 2020 harvest. This allowed us to expand our team of locally employed staff to 6 (from 4 the previous year) and increase the volume of coffee purchased by 20%. Financial incentives were also offered through bonuses for those farmers who consistently provided high-quality, sorted cherry.
In October 2020, members of our team were able to take part in a coffee rehabilitation workshop in Ermera led by agronomists from Landell-Mills. This will serve as a spring board in 2021 for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the coffee plants of our partner farmers which will involve the setting up of a demo plot and nursery so that new seedlings can be planted to allow the regeneration of older generation trees.