Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community


Posted On: July 30, 2018

From pouring buckets of coffee cherries into pulping machines to trekking to Fijian mountain villages where coffee plants grow wild, Kenneth Green from Niue did it all. He observed the Bula Coffee value chain that starts in villages where women pick coffee beans and store them in white food grade buckets. Four-wheel drives transport the buckets of cherries to the processing factory outside Sigatoka town, in the western side of Fiji.

Huge pulping machines strip the cherries of its flesh and spit out green beans. These are sun dried on rooftops, roasted and packed into various sized bags ready for percolators and espressos and cups of coffees around the world. From tree to cup, the experience was insightful for the Niuean.
‘I learnt as I saw the whole process from start to packaging of the final product, the things not to do, so that I can do it right when I get back home,” Green said. ‘Machines are crucial for efficiency and having high yields. I’ve been doing things by hand and the amount of beans I produce in one day, the machine produces in 15 minutes,’ he added.

Bula Coffee started in 2011, with one village supplying coffee cherries to now 33. Luke Fryett said growing Bula Coffee required building solid relationships with villagers. ‘At first they doubted we would pay them for cherries growing in the wild,’ he said.

Bula Coffee buys from hundreds of farmers who coffee plantations extend over thousands of acres.

Green wants to build something similar in Niue and produce an all-Niuean coffee product.
‘I’m probably the only one growing coffee plants. To build my value chain by sourcing from more than one other farmer I have some ways and years to go. “However, I can start with the beans I have and supply the local resort or other eateries but will need to encourage more Niuean’s to plant coffee if I am to maintain my supplies. ‘I am glad though this experience with Bula Coffee has given me the information I need to do things right.’

Green’s trip to Fiji is classified as a ‘south-to-south’ learning exchange encouraged through the Capacity Building in Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific project implemented in Niue with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

He spent a week with Bula Coffee in May this year.

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