A long history in global coffee

Home to 260 million people and over 300 ethnic groups, Indonesia is an environmentally-diverse tropical archipelago that straddles the equator. It boasts Southeast Asia’s largest economy, and the fifth-largest economy in the Asia Pacific region, with GDP growing at about 5% per year since early 2016. Strong economic disparities exist between different regions of Indonesia and between rural and urban populations. Approximately 42% of the labor force is employed in agriculture, which in turn produces about 14% of the country’s GDP.

Coffee has a fairly long history in Indonesia. Outside Arabia and Ethiopia, Indonesia was the first place where coffee was widely cultivated. The Dutch initially brought coffee seedlings from Yemen in 1696, and by 1711 already exported the first beans from Java to Europe. From the initial plantations in West Java coffee cultivation quickly spread to other parts of Java and to the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi. Indonesia is now a coffee powerhouse. It ranks fourth behind Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia in the amount of coffee produced; it’s second behind Brazil in terms of the acreage of coffee harvested and is seventh in terms of global coffee exports. As coffee consumers themselves, however, Indonesians are a bit more lukewarm. Domestic consumption per capita only manages to reach rank 101st globally, with about 500 g of coffee being brewed and sipped by an Indonesian on average per year. In comparison, an average Western European consumes between 4-8 kg of coffee per year. Nevertheless, domestic coffee consumption is growing rapidly in Indonesia.

Indonesia has a number of high-quality specialty Arabica coffees, such as ‘kopi luwak’, reputed to be the world’s most expensive coffee, and the renowned Mandailing, Gayo or Lintong beans from northern Sumatra. Most Indonesian coffee is, however, lower quality Robusta. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of coffee produced in Indonesia is Robusta, which puts it just behind Vietnam as the world’s second largest Robusta producer. The lowland areas of southern Sumatra are the mainstay of Indonesian Robusta production. Currently, about two-thirds of Indonesian Robusta is produced there, which makes up nearly 50% of Indonesia’s total coffee production.

However, southern Sumatra Robusta husbandry is dogged by low productivity and poor quality beans. Virtually all coffee is grown by smallholders cultivating between one and two hectares, and an average smallholder Robusta farmer harvests just short of 500 kg of beans per hectare, which he or she commonly sells for less than 1.5 US dollars per kg to local traders or collectors. In comparison, global yield averages are closer to 0.7 t per hectare, and under more intensive production regimes, such as in Vietnam, average Robusta yields can go up to 2 t per hectare.

Largely for these reasons, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung started implementing projects to raise Robusta productivity, quality, profitability and the livelihoods of farmers in southern Sumatra in 2014. Projects in 11 sub-districts of the OKU Selatan Regency of South Sumatra Province are implemented through the Bandar Lampung-based coffee trader PT. Berindo Jaya, and in partnership with the district government and approximately 15,000 smallholder robusta farmers.

Dr. Adrian Bolliger

Country Director Indonesia

Some Facts About Indonesia


Accumulated Beneficiaries


Adaptation Rate To Climate Change Techniques

According to ICP-Progress Report

Training Sessions

Farmer visits as well as Farmer Field Schools.