Processing of Vanuatu Coffee

Once the sweet cherry ripens to a wonderful crimson red they are hand picked. They are then put through a hand pulper within 6 hours of harvest and fermented for approximately 24 hours. This is done either in the Co-op processing stations scattered throughout the island in the villages (supported by A Vanuatu company called Tanna Coffee Plantations TCP  and INIK Co-op to assist in lifting the quality of the coffee) or in the farmer’s homes or villages.

Normally the  Tanna Island’s coffee one  parchment is sun dried by small farmers or sold to one of TCP INIK’s 7 local village buying stations.. in a cross section of condition.. being either freshly harvested, half dry or fully sun dried. This allows the farmers to work within their personal parameters, thereby minimizing their costs associated with growing, harvesting and holding their coffee until dry.

The previous system before TCP /INIK developed the village stations saw farmers waiting up to 4 months before they held commercial quantities. This resulted in them incurring high costs to pay for transport to the distant factory owned and managed by Tanna Coffee and meant an inferior product was delivered to the factory with variable quality parameters experienced. During this time the quality would drop because of the less than desirable holding conditions within the farmers kustom houses.

This fast track payment and loan system available to farmers at the start of the harvest season (introduced by TCP / INIK) allows for full harvest as funds are received quickly and utilized for labour payments or general farmers outgoings. The loan is repayable at the end of the harvest and adheres to Fairtrade practises.

TCP estimates that up to 50% of previous years crops was not being harvested, because this system was not supported until 2008 and rotting cherry was clearly visable on the coffee trees. Thankfully now we are seeing 100% coffee harvest and the production level this year should top 40 tonnes for the first time.In 2010 the Tanna Island’s coffee growers with direct assistance were able to double the harvest from approx 30 tonnes in 2009 to 60 tonnes in 2010 as the total islands harvest. This level has not been reached since 1992 under heavy spenting by Aid programs .. But this time it is the farmers and their co0operative that have made the difference and this is very special.

Our achieveable objective is within 2 years [2012] is to produce 100 tonnes and 200 tonnes by 2015. This was not conceivable until INIK /TCP created the joint venture understanding in 2008. However, previous initiatives by POPCA [aid program] laid out a very important foundation for TCP/INIK to work with and they deserve many thanks and share in the sucesses now being built on.Now that the TCP /INIK Joint Venture has the seal of approval from the Coucil of  Chiefs of Tanna Island  one can only expect more widespread support of new farmers starting to grow this world class coffee .New investors currently showing interest could easily boost this possible total 2-300% more than our early estimates and theirr investment would be Very Gladly  recieved and the possible expertise they could bring in the many facets involved in getting the Tanna Island Coffee Industry to the top of the world class status.

As funds or investment comes available more end use processing equipment can be purchased but our primary goal is one of coffee plants in the ground and supporting the farmer at this stage..

No aid has been offered to the coffee sector since 2006 and we are seeing outstanding results  seen without the useful inclusion of such funds.

TCP INIK harvest totals    2009       19.8 tonnes

                                                    2010         46.8 tonnes