Indonesia has dispersed the sweet aroma of a world class Arabica coffee since the 17th century, after the Dutch opened their coffee plantations in Sulawesi. One of these plantations was Rante Karua, Bolokan, located in Tana Toraja area, which is about 450 km north of Makassar. Initially, it was owned by a Dutch gentleman by the name of H.J. Stock van Dykk.
However, during the revolutionary era, the fate of the plantation became unknown –as if ‘disappeared’– until it was taken over by the Indonesian government, and, eventually, managed by PT. Sulotco Jaya Abadi.
The plantation, located at 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level, is known as the best coffee producer in the world. A well-respected coffee entrepreneur from the USA, J. Martines, called it “quality coffee in the world”.
In 1987, at the hillside of Rante Karua, on a vast land of 1,200 hectares, Sulotco Jaya Abadi opened a coffee plantation with a business plan that involved a close partnership with the surrounding inhabitants. By offering quality seeds from a US R&D institution, Sulotco Jaya Abadi offered job opportunities to the dwellers in the surrounding areas to become coffee farmers.
At present, there are approximately 1,000,000 coffee trees being grown and nursed by coffee farmers; Furthermore, 200 ha from the total area is turned into a natural conservation area.
Each time, after harvesting, Sulotco implements a revenue sharing system: 75% of the crops are allocated to the farmers, and 25 % to the company. Then, the part owned by farmers is purchased by the company, with a good price. This way, the farmers adopt an increasingly sense of belonging to the plantation. And, not to mention, an assurance for a better future.
The company implements an alternating bed system in their cultivation of organic coffee, by using sheep manure to enrich the soil. For this purpose, Sulotco Jaya Abadi distributes 2,000 sheep to the farmers,for free. The farmers then collect the sheeps’ droppings and then sell it to the company to produce organic fertilizer.
Leaves from lamtoro trees are also provided to feed the sheep, and, to serve as shield for the coffee plants. And, if needed, the farmers can make their own organic pesticide from natural components, such as betel leaves, areca nuts, and yam. Totally free from chemicals.