REGION: Eastern Highlands
SUBREGION: Roots No. 1 area, Okapa District
GROWERS: Roots No. 1 smallholder supply chain
ALTITUDE: 1,800 to 2,200 meters above sea level
ARABICA VARIETALS: Typica, Arusha
CERTIFICATIONS: RFA, Organic EU
In the cup: Apple, black tea, cola, hazelnut, lime, nectarine, peach, plum and raspberry.
The heart of the Okapa District of the Eastern Highlands is the home of the “Roots no.1” smallholder supply chain. The area has an altitude range of around 1800 –2000 meters above sea level. The Roots no. 1 area can be reached by road from Goroka (the capital of Eastern Highlands Province). This is a magnificent drive of approximately 3 hrs that will show you a wide variety of landscapes and coffee scenery. The district is famous for its high quality coffee production and is the most populous district among 7 other districts in the province. Okapa is the home of more than 60,000 people of 33 tribes who depend entirely on coffee farming (mostly smallholders) for their livelihoods.
The Roots no. 1 supply chain is a very active smallholder group that is successfully managed by Mr Tony Tokah. He is one of the founding fathers of the Roots no. 1 group, and is at the helm of its coffee operation that completed a dry mill in the area in 2016. Their line of thought is that even though they consider themselves “grassroots farmers”, the group has aspirations to become the number 1 coffee supplier in PNG. As a firm reminder of this ambition the group adopted this as its trade and brandname: Roots no. 1 coffee. Shortly after its first parchment purchases and green bean deliveries to Goroka, the consistency and frequency of deliveries was well noted by our sister company Monpi Coffee Exports, which led to a collaboration with SMS-PNG to increase the support to this supply chain. It currently has over 1,000 registered and certified smallholder farm households contributing to the supply of Roots No. 1 coffee. Over a period of five years the collaboration with SMS-PNG has elevated the group from organised road-side buying to fully traceable high quality sales. The supply chain achieved a certified status for various international certification standards (Utz certified, Fairtrade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance, 4C, CAFE Practices) and saw its first sales of micro lots entering the specialty market in 2016.
(info courtesy of Condesa)