Tanna Island Coffee is a Joint Venture between Tanna Coffee Plantations (TCP) and INIK Co-operative a licensed co-op working for the people of Tanna Island. Tanna Coffee Plantations as a responsible entity considers it’s role as a fund provider, business directorship of transparent honest and progressive business models and responsible for marketing and sales on behalf of the Co-op members and coffee farmers in general as set out under the private sector lead agricultural development plans for the greater Pacific Rim.

One might say the history of the coffee industry has been one of fragmented values and TCP has encountered huge success over the last three years by developing trust and techniques accepted by the farmer and honest practises to allow belief in the industry to flourish to the stage where now there is strong belief in the coffee industry’s future. TCP provides a trail blazing role and spends any profit it makes to develop ever expanding systems and aid to the farmers when the need has been identified by the INIK executive that work tirelessly for their people for little or no financial gain

INIK Co-op

INIK Co-op is the engine that drives the industry at grass roots level in a cost effective Kustom and environmentally friendly format. It identifies the needs of its people and through open consultation then sets out in an orderly manner to address these needs. There are three main people behind INIK and their work and committeement is or cannot be underestimated or disregarded and their satisfaction is that they are helping their people

Napuat Mawe ably helped by his wife Monique led the technical aid and woman’s momentum in the industry. Sam Mareawa is the chairman and walks hundreds of kilometers every month supporting his people. He addresses the issues that come from so many different elements in a society and regularly receives heartfelt gratitude for his work. Rex Iapen is a business savvy man that has battled for years for the rights of his people giving up a well paid position in the capital to return to the island to be spokesperson for his people. To these people there is no amount of thanks the people can give for their outstanding and continuing work for their family’s future.

TCP INIK have formed a strong network throughout the island to support in the villages and help the farmers to maximise their returns. Over time these returns will develop into new cash crops, particularly as the strength of trust becomes ever more present and as supply chains improve with greater cost efficiency. TCP /INIK receive no aid funds to date and are one of the most successful collaborations in the islands of Vanuatu.

Each Parties involvement

Mike Pole’s task is to direct the long term direction [3-5 year period] and development of the industry infrastructure in close consultation with INIK’s management team. TCP privately funds, provides and maintains all necessary equipment, holds parts as needed and buys all parchment coffee that is for sale as it becomes available from our farmers. TCP then supplies dried green bean to clients as per their requirements. TCP either exports or supplies the domestic market as required.

INIK’s role is to be the ‘On the ground’ support network, attending to any needs of the industry throughout the island. INIK gives technical advice, provides seedling plants, consultation, identification of infrastructure needs and is appointed with the task of increasing quality levels of post harvest parchment coffee and growing systems that fit into the local farmers lifestyle.

INIK and TCP ‘s focus is firmly on returning the industry to the forefront of the Tanna Island economy, and as such, chooses to use local contractors for all transport needs, labour requirements and supply of necessary items for their business. TCP has encouraged the people of Tanna to continue using their tools, individual skill sets and time-tested coffee growing practices. This may not be the most cost effective system, but it allows an even spread of money to flow into the greater community and economy of Tanna Island.

Supporting hard working people

TCP and INIK get no assistance from aid agencies or local government to help the island people. Instead they rely on sound business practices (honesty, availability, transparency and effective flow of funds into the wider community) with an open door policy. They work hard to guarantee funds are available for the industry’s needs and a brighter future. This ensures a robust business model is being developed and most importantly, acceptance by those that we are trying to help. Business on Tanna has a checked  history of corrupt practices. Trust is hard won but is something now strongly in place.

The taxi drivers on the island (public transport is normally a 4 tonne truck or the back of a 1 tonne utility truck) comment that in the harvest season their income increases 5 fold. This carries them through the hard times when money is scarce. Many contract pickers walk kilometers to harvest the coffee cherry. To avoid partial a coffee harvest TCP and INIK provide pre-season loans through INIK’s network (Fairtrade practice). This allows 100% cropping of the cherry as farmers usually don’t have spare money at the start of the harvest season, to pay their causual pickers.

The coffee industry is a very important part of the local people’s lives providing cash while symbiotically fitting into their subsistence life style.