Koperasi Serba Usaha “Arinagata” (KSU Arinagata) is an Indonesian coffee-producing cooperative that was founded in 2006 with 800 small farmer members, brought together after unsatisfactory sales at other co-ops. The cooperative became certified organic in 2007, gained Fair Trade certification in 2008, and had its first exports by early 2009. KSU Arinagata decided to pursue Fair Trade certification because Fair Trade offers transparency, prosperity, democracy and a minimum price. Farmers in the area had been severely affected by the previous armed conflict in the Aceh province, prompting most to leave their farms for years, only returning recently after the signing of a peace agreement in 2005. As a result, some farmers are still in the process of re-cultivating their coffee gardens, a process that has been made difficult by a lack of cash and labor. Finding a good market channel for its coffee has been one of the cooperative’s greatest challenges. The recent increase in demand for coffee from the Gayo Mountains, however, has invigorated business in the area. KSU Arinagata’s Fair Trade certification has combined with this increase to bring improvements to the cooperative’s community.
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