In March of 2019, Benjamin & Anne Marie Brewer, with Azure Market and UnCommon Carob, went to visit Your Coconut Sugar supplier in Central Java, Indonesia.
Here Wawan manages an Organic Coconut Sugar Co-op. And Purwanto is one of the farmers in the co-op.
Since organic coconut sugar has gained popularity as a healthier sugar choice over the past few years: the Indonesian farmers have benefited from higher prices; but have also been taken advantage of. As exporters were constantly competing for a farmer’s sugar. Since farmers were regularly being convinced to sell to new buyers, accountability to a consistent quality standard was nearly impossible to achieve.
The industry was plagued with low quality products, often diluted with cheap sugar cane. Wawan saw this as an opportunity. So he founded a new coconut sugar co-op to bring high quality organic coconut sugar to the market. He gives the farmer all the tools, supplies and knowledge needed to harvest and produce a consistent high quality product. He also provided the farmers with a guaranteed fair priced market. This resulted in loyalty between the farmer and Wawan’s Co-op.
The local economy has been boosted so much by this program, that the government has inquired about implementing Wawan’s program on larger scale.
Benjamin said there were a few key components to the coconut sugar program that really impressed him.
- Wawan’s heart to bring a better quality of life to his farmers.
- His passion for continual fine tuning the sugar making process to bring a perfect and consistent product to the market.
- How sustainably grown, organic coconut sugar really is. These farmers can literally grow thousands of pounds of coconut sugar per acre out in the middle of the rainforest jungle! No cultivation, no fertilizer, no modern machines and no chemicals. Compare that to traditional cane sugar’s massive rainforest deforestation, heavy chemical and fertilizer use and polution from millions of acres getting burned at harvest.
- What a positive impact buying organic coconut sugar makes on the lives of these people. They are being raised from extreme poverty, to a place where Purwanto said, “The organic coconut sugar co-op has given me the ability to send my son to school. Giving him an education is very important to me.“
We love to see this kind of commitment and positive enviromental and social impact from the farms you support. And we’re proud to offer this wholesome sweetener to our customers.