Armajaro’s cooperation and increased proximity to cocoa farmers in Polman has generated better prices, terms, and flows of market and quality information for the farmers. With VECO’s support, AMANAH leaders have gained marketing skills and established sales partnerships not only with Armajaro but with several other traders too. They are also skilled technical trainers, teaching what they know to a growing number of farmer groups in other districts.
One of AMANAH’s greatest achievements to date has been to secure capital assistance from the Indonesian government. Initially, AMANAH was unable to compete with middlemen because it lacked capital. Today AMANAH manages funds of around USD 140,000 from its members and USD 1.09 million. Membership fees remain important to ensure the cooperatives a proper income. Member farmers are obliged to contribute a certain amount, which varies from one cooperative to another.
AMANAH farmer groups’ sales to Armajaro have increased from 33 tons in 2006 to 46 tons in 2007, 88 tons in 2008 and 230 tons in 2010. Expectations for coming years are 500 tons for 2011, 750 tons for 2012 and 1,000 tons for 2013. The farmers get 75 to 80% of the Freight On Board (FOB) price in New York, which is a very high percentage (i.e. compared to 65 to 70% in Ghana). This means that only 10% to 15% of the FOB price is for the trader and for transport to New York or Amsterdam. The other 10% is export tax to the Indonesian government. The farmers’ percentage works out to USD 1,000 to 2,500 per ha, which is a good income for an average Indonesian farmer. Thus, for organized cocoa farmers who improve their quality and productivity, the collective selling of cacao is a viable income source.