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AAK COOPERATIVE
PRE-HARVEST
UPDATE

AAK COOPERATIVE UPDATE

Because of its remote nature and the difficulty associated with traveling to the various cluster groups organized under the banner of AAK, we have relied heavily on our export partners in PNG since the death of AAK’s leader, Brian Kuglame. Regina and her team have stepped up to the challenge, delivering us timely and relevant information in support of Crop to Cup’s goals for the 2024 harvest.

We will be visiting AAK in June; if you’re interested in exploring coffee from PNG, particularly as a replacement for high-volumes of clean blender coffees or for microlots, now is the best time to contact your trader to register your interest.

In 2023, we offered premiums and a revolving air freight fund as a way to encourage quality practices for AAK clusters; a small number of clusters engaged in drying experiments as an effort to improve the value of their coffee and the prices they received. We are expanding the purchasing of those coffees for 2024 as well as coffees processed through centralized wet mills built using support from Crop to Cup and roaster partners of AAK.

Below is an update from Regina and Samuel from their March 2024 visits to our focus cluster groups for this year’s harvest.


Keiya cluster group in APO erected a new storage shed using materials obtained through support from Crop to Cup. This semi-permanent storage shed is a result of combined labor efforts by all community members. Logs for the shed are chopped on the opposite side of the river, then transported on tire tubes downstream then walked 30 minutes to base camp for use in construction.

In this photo from March 21, the storage shed is nearing completion: bamboo will be weaved to form the front wall, making it complete by mid-April and functional for the storage of coffee this season:

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The wet mill infrastructure is also nearing completion. The fermentation tank, made of brick, was built, with final touches required of smoothing the concrete floor. They are welding a pulper and motor stand to enable the use of a motorized pulper this harvest.

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The current raised bed is 1x5m in dimension; the cluster group is replacing the old beds which did not allow sufficient airflow with another two larger beds with cloth in preparation for the 2024 harvest:

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The Keiya cluster group projects that all of the cherry from this group will come to this new centralized wet mill; this year they expect their volumes will increase if the rain stops. Non-members will also be invited to deliver cherry here rather than processing at home. Because Keiya lacks sufficient access to clean water, they will be processing their coffees as honeys this year.


The Waingar cluster group of ANGRA-Simbu also used support from Crop to Cup to build a new, centralized wet mill, improve their drying beds and construct a new storage shed of permanent materials for the 2024 harvest.

The raised beds are complete and in use:

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At the wet mill, the fermentation tanks and shade cover are complete in this photo from March, while the piping system is expected to have been completed mid-April:

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The Waingar cluster group and leaders spoke with confidence that their cherry volume will increase for 2024 versus 2023. With the support provided by Crop to Cup, in addition to the improved materials for storage, the wet mill and drying materials, the cluster group also received a Draminski moisture meter and Infrared thermometer to further improve drying practices. Commitments to deliver cherry to the wet mill have already begun. Like Keiya, Waingar does not have a good water source nearby and will also be using their wet mill to produce honey processed coffees.


We were unable to visit the Koglai cluster group or Kesavaka cluster groups due to heavy rainfalls in the months of January, February and March which led to landslides, blocked roads, and bridges washing away. Communications with the group leaders continues via mobile devices. For Kesevaka, due to the geographical locations of farmers coffee plots and houses, it’s not possible for centralized wet mill processing; however, farmers will gather their parchments at the storage house and bring for processing.


Last December, 15 other clusters received pulpers:

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We will visit Papua New Guinea and the AAK Cooperative in June. For more information, or to contract coffees forward on a SAS-PSS basis, contact your trader at Crop to Cup.