03 Jul 2021
Andre sees a lot of potential from his village, which has not been managed well. With its beautiful view and coffee trees everywhere, Ulu Wae Village where he lives should be a promising tourism destination. Not to mention a strong coffee-drinking culture from the villagers. Sipping high-quality coffee becomes a mandatory daily ritual. This surely becomes an attractive selling point for young tourists who love to enjoy high-quality and delicious coffee.
However, as it is a classic problem with many regions in Indonesia, many members of the community and local governments do not have the willingness or capacity to manage the natural riches bestowed by God Almighty.
Thanks to training and inputs from various parties, Andre’s insights and vision are slowly taking shape. Strongly committed to improve coffee management, and increase the income of the villagers, Andre established a youth community forum called the Creative Community (Koker) in 2020.
One of Koker’s activities is providing education to coffee farmers to produce high-quality coffees, from carelessly processed coffee to specialty coffee with high selling value. Carelessly-processed coffees are coffees processed from the beginning of harvest to green bean using low-quality control, for example mixing raw and ripe coffees, careless drying making the water level still high, and mixed with defective beans. Specialty coffee is a single origin (originated from a specific region) coffee, has 0% defective beans, and has a grade above 80 from a maximum score of 100, and whose origin can be easily traced.
Andre himself has sold several types of prepackaged coffees to many parties, such as cafes, coffee shops, and hotels around Manggarai area. To increase the coffee’s selling price and add networks in the coffee industry, Andre joined with the Manggarai Coffee Farmers Association or Asosiasi Petani Kopi Manggarai (Asnikom) and Geographic Indication Society or Masyarakat Peduli Indikasi Geografis (MPIG).
Manggarai Coffee has its own uniqueness. The coffees produced are not from concentrated plantations but trees growing in yards and land around the community’s residential areas. This is a phenomenon that has the advantage of having a variety of tastes but also presents a challenge, especially regarding the consistency of coffee bean management.
The vast people’s coffee plantations enable Manggarai to sell its coffees domestically and overseas, including to the neighboring coffee centers like Bajawa, including the yellow cattura types that are sold there.
The success of Bajawa as a popular coffee center was not achieved in one night. The support of the Ngada District Government has been prominent. It is no wonder then that discussions about Flores coffee have been associated with Bajawa Coffee. This fascinates Andre and many other coffee enthusiasts.
“When talking about Flores Coffee, almost everyone links it to Bajawa Coffee. But we have not given up yet. Hopefully, I and the creative community in Ulu Wae Community can elevate the dignity of Manggarai Coffee so that it becomes more well-known to coffee enthusiasts. We will also continue to collaborate with many parties to achieve this, including with the local government,” said Andre.
In addition to promoting better coffee management in Ulu Wae Village, Andre is also active in promoting the cultivation of vegetables, freshwater fish, and making aquaponics by using used drinking water bottles. He is doing this business based on his passion and love for agriculture, especially horticultural plants. His community also creates artworks using coffee as the base material, such as coffee residue paintings, wall ornaments using coffee twigs, and promoting them through social media.
In one day he can gain hundreds of thousand profits from selling vegetables. He uses one hundred percent organic fertilizers. He has been marketing vegetables around Biting Village and across Colol. This abundant request overwhelms him in working on and marketing them. To him, the Creative Community of Ulu Wae Village – KOKER, is the most appropriate forum to share his knowledge and gain a myriad of experiences in agriculture, both from cultivation, post-harvest processing, and marketing.
Andre hopes that he can pass on his spirit to develop Ulu Wae Village, just like what he has been doing for the community, especially to younger generations, both from coffee cultivation, other commodities, and tourism.