New studies show that despite the fact that the price of coffee is rising rapidly worldwide over the past few decades the coffee farmers are not seeing much benefit. Typically coffee farmers are among the worst treated in the world. It’s incredibly hard work for a yield that is often poorly paid.
Direct trade – this refers to cutting out the middleman and is when the end coffee roaster has a direct relationship with the farmer.
Shade grown – this is when the coffee plantation is set up with large, shady trees that form a canopy over the smaller coffee plants. This great idea allows farmers to grow coffee without uprooting other plants. It also uses less water as the shade keeps the soil moist, and it also prevents erosion.
One major challenge that coffee growers face in the increased demand for their product but with limited land and resources farmers have to come up with ways that make the most of the land they do have. Shade grown coffee has become one solution PNG farmers are turning to along with sparing the land from over use they are also providing a habitat for local birdlife and small animals that inhabit the land.
A sustainable farm tries to give back as much to the land and its people as it receives. The aim is to use renewable resources in all steps of the coffee process where possible. Many coffee growers in PNG strive to make their farms sustainable. They use minimal water in their wet processing and don’t return the fermentation tank water to rivers or lakes directly, they filter it naturally through the earth and then use it for irrigation of the coffee plants. A sustainable farm will also reuse coffee husks as fuel for heating their drying units rather than cutting down surrounding trees to use the wood. If they do cut down trees for heating they will plant new trees to replace those used.