Aus Govt partners with Project Origin and others to support Timor-Leste coffee farmers


The Australian Government’s Business Partnership Platform (BPP) will see speciality coffee producer Kape Diem, not-for-profit consultancy 1LM, and Australian green bean sourcing company Project Origin come together to support farmer’s jobs and economic growth in Timor-Leste.

This partnership will see $1.5 million in private investment and $206,000 from the Australian Government invested into the platform.

The BPP aims to connect these farmers to larger markets, increasing incomes and creating more export opportunities. The initiative also aims to establish a sustainable coffee export business titled Orijem Timor and improve the quality of specialist coffee crops.

The partnership will do so through creating long-term relationships with the farmers and supporting them through education, training and technical assistance. Contracts will provide farmers with support through an assured income pre-harvest. These contracts are also designed to incentivise farmers to partake in activities that produce speciality grade coffee.

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, says this support is designed to help the region’s economic recovery following COVID-19 and the Easter floods.

“As Timor-Leste’s largest non-oil export, coffee is an essential crop and source of income for much of Timor-Leste’s rural population,” says Minister Zed.

“This partnership will continue the growth of the speciality coffee market in Timor-Leste, helping establish a sustainable coffee export business that is expected to see increased incomes across 1000 households.”

The initiative also aims to address the inequality between men and women both in opportunities and income. To do so, the BPP requires supply contracts to be signed by both husband and wife, rather than just the male. This is to combat the issue of women not commonly holding property rights in Timor-Leste.

Both mixed and women-only farm education, harvest, and coffee training will be led by female trainers. Women will also be employed in salary positions where practical, and women will be paid directly, rather than through their male counterpart.

“By recognising and strengthening the role of women in the coffee supply chain, the partnership is also championing gender equality in the industry,” Minister Seselja says.

Australia has been working the Timorese coffee industry since 2015 through its aid program which seeks to increase the quality and number of yields. This partnership will serve as a continuation of that work.

“Australia is committed to supporting Timor-Leste build a more resilient and diversified economy in the wake of COVID-19 and recent natural disasters,” the Australian Government said in a statement.

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