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Indonesia Greens its Rice Industry with Coffee

Pam Sornson

Posted on November 2, 2018 12:24

1 user

With temperatures rising and water resources becoming scarce, Indonesia is responding by trading rice paddies for coffee beans.

Surya Prakosa on Unsplash

Decades of industrial growth across Indonesia's 17,000 islands have lifted it to seventh place as the world's largest CO2 emitter. However, climate change and global warming now threaten its agriculture industry, one of its biggest employers and economic engines. The country is addressing the rising threat by adding less resource-draining crops to its annual production and converting to a cleaner burning fuel source. Coffee is quickly becoming an alternative crop of choice.

Same Land; Different Demand

With approximately 30 percent of its population involved in farming, maintaining the health of that industry is critical to the country's future. However, rice is a staple crop grown by a large percentage of those farmers, and it is notoriously vulnerable to changes in water levels and temperature. Rising global temperatures (about 1° C over 1990 temperatures) are reducing precipitation levels which, in turn, reduces yields.

To diversify its agricultural outputs, the country turned to coffee as an alternative crop, specifically su-re.coffee, which is the brainchild of su-re.co. su-re.co is a Bali-based company focused on three directives to develop sustainability (su) and resilience (re) in Indonesia's industries:

Its "think-tank" synergizes mitigation and adaptation strategies into potential projects.

Its "do-tank" monetizes those strategies to develop realistic market options for green and sustainable products.

Its "be-tank" embeds scientifically beneficial behaviors and activities into the efforts across the company and its projects.

Su-re.co's coffee project is a suitable response to Indonesia's rice-paddy problem for several reasons. Internally, coffee consumption grew by seven percent just in 2016, and the global demand for coffee has risen by 20 percent between 2012 and 2017.

Additionally, coffee can thrive in areas that are drought threatened, a circumstance that is fatal to rice crops. So, not only does the new product contribute to the growing market demand, but it also alleviates the threat to the economy posed by climate change. 

Biogas Replacing Fossil Fuels

As an additional benefit, su-re.co is also encouraging the use of biogas as a fuel source for several Balinese needs. The abundance of agricultural waste (the residual husks and straw, etc.) is now feeding the livestock that produces the biomass that can be used as a resource. Manure is both fertilizer for the coffee fields, as well as fuel for domestic use, which reduces the use of wood for those purposes and eliminates deforestation as a concern.

Economic Benefits

As an economic driver, the su-re.co coffee project is building revenues on two fronts. On the national level, bulk coffee exports are growing, lifting the entire industry and the country's GDP. On a local level, micro markets selling both the sustainably-grown coffee and other products created by the former rice farmers improve those economies, too. And, the project responds to several of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, besides.

Recognizing the threats posed by climate change, the Indonesian government is adapting its industries to remain viable despite those impending challenges.

 

Pam Sornson

Posted on November 2, 2018 12:24

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Source: Mother Jones

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