Koperasi (co-operative) Buana Mandiri is situated in the Bener Meriah Regency of Aceh Province in the northern part of the island of Sumatra. The co-operative has more than 2,000 members and has been both Fairtrade and organic certified since 2015. The co-operative’ headquarters are found in Takengon city, on the edge of Lake Takengon and are surrounded by mountains and hills. The terrain combined with regular, heavy rainfall gives Aceh the perfect conditions for cultivating coffee. As a result producing coffee is one of the region’s main industries.
The varieties they grow are fairly commonplace – Timtim and Catimor both being related to the Hybrid de Timor that spontaneously occurred on the island of Timor at the opposite end of the archipelago in the late 1950’s. Gayo-1 and Gayo-2 are also present, the former being viewed as a strain selected from the Indonesian Coffee Research facility in Jember, east Java. When HdT was discovered, various strains were sent or selected around the world, with small variations in each becoming more disparate as they acclimatised to their new settings.
As they are Fairtrade certified, Buana Mandiri have been able to benefit from Fairtrade’s Covid-19 relief fund throughout the pandemic. Mawardiyanto, a spokesperson for the co-operative, has said ‘This funding is invaluable for us since we currently face financial distress due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and this has helped us to settle the 2020 Fairtrade certification annual fee.’