MILAN – When the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Indonesia in March, smallholder coffee farmer 56-year old Sayanah from Juku Batu Village in Banjit, had not even heard of the virus, much less on how to prevent its spread to his family and community.
Indonesia is the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world, with 90% produced by small-scale farmers who depend on it for their livelihoods. Sayanah is one of over 10,700 of these farmers – who sell coffee to food and agri-business Olam International – to benefit from sensitisation, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential supplies following a concerted effort by Olam and its global coffee customers, Italian coffee manufacturer Lavazza, Nespresso and Canada-based Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee.
Vivek Verma, Managing Director and CEO, Olam Coffee, said,
“Our heartfelt thanks go out to Lavazza, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee and Nespresso for their overwhelming support. Coffee farmers all over the world have already taken a hit from low prices and the pandemic now poses an urgent existential risk for them. Together with our customers, the priority is to work hand in hand to help keep farmers safe and help them endure this difficult period.”
Beginning in July, donation packages consisting of face masks, hand sanitisers and food staples like rice, noodles, sugar and cooking oil have been distributed to coffee farmers across Indonesia’s Sumatra and Java regions. Sensitising rural villages and farming communities on COVID prevention has also been a priority for Olam’s teams on the ground to help curb the spread of the virus.
“We are sometimes unaware about how serious the pandemic is and freely go around without wearing face masks. This donation has reminded us that we have to follow health protocols to prevent further spread of the virus,” commented Sayanah.
57-year old coffee farmer Sukman from Menanga Jaya Village in Banji added: “This really helps us to survive through the pandemic and we are very thankful for the food packages and PPE”.
Beyond Indonesia, Olam Coffee continues to work with partners around the world in Asia, Africa and Latin America to commit significant resources in-kind and financial support across origins in the fight against COVID-19. (Find out more here.)