Demo plot program shapes the future of coffee for Indonesian farmers

Demonstration plot program illustrates what Komasti, an Indonesian arabica variety, can do for farmers in the face of climate change

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Komasti variety. Photo provided by the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI).

In recent years, Indonesia, one of the top coffee-producing countries globally, has experienced challenges to coffee production as a result of climate change and the increased prevalence of pests and diseases on farms. In 2023/24 alone, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) predicts that Indonesian coffee exports will experience a decline of 32% from the previous year due to weather-related supply shortages as heavy rainfall has disrupted production processes and lowered yields significantly.

The Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) has been working to address these challenges in part through agricultural research, including the development and release of Komasti, a composite arabica variety recognized for its strong resistance to diseases like coffee leaf rust and high-yield potential. The variety was released officially in 2013 but, until now, has struggled to gain the awareness and acceptance of farmers due to limited promotion, testing, and accessibility.

In 2022, ICCRI partnered with World Coffee Research (WCR) to establish a demonstration plot program in West Java to demonstrate to local farmers the high performance of Komasti.

"We hope to strengthen the coffee community around the demo plot—this program could be our model for excellent arabica coffee planting in Indonesia."

At the initiation of the program, WCR supported the establishment and first year of the demonstration plot with the support of two industry partners—Frinsa Agrolestari and PT Sucafina Indonesia. In 2023, these partners will take over the local management of the demo plot and continue monitoring its progress on the ground.

The first harvest of the plots is expected between May and July of 2025. Nuzul Qudri, WCR’s Regional Project Manager in Asia, says that despite the fact that the trees have not experienced their first harvest yet, “Coffee farmers in the region around the demo plot have already expressed interest in Komasti, observing that it is more vigorous in the early growth phase compared to existing varieties currently being cultivated locally.”

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Coffee plantation in Tana Toraja, Rantepao in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

ICCRI is optimistic that the demo plot will successfully showcase to farmers that Komasti can produce higher yields than varieties that are currently predominant in Indonesia to encourage its adoption, recognizing that higher productivity is critical for supporting farmers to adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change.

The institute plans to continue with the demo plot program in other arabica and robusta growing areas in order to distribute their new varieties more effectively. “Dissemination of the new variety is an essential step to developing sustainable coffee production in Indonesia,” said Dini Astika Sari, Director of ICCRI, “We expect that, through this program’s disclosure to farmers and coffee stakeholders of ICCRI’s superior variety, growers will have access to better planting materials and boost their income. As well, we hope to strengthen the coffee community around the demo plot—this program could be our model for excellent arabica coffee planting in Indonesia.”