The Highlands Organic Agriculture Cooperative (HOAC) is initiating much needed community projects in the Okapa District in the Eastern Highlands Province from premium income received through coffee sales overseas.Since its certification with the Fairtrade in 2005, this community based organization has been supporting and initiating various projects in schools, aid posts, coffee farming groups and villages.
Chairman Daniel Kinne revealed that HOAC has started initially by supplying school stationary in the North and South Fore areas and as the premium of its coffee sales grew, HOAC refocused its development objective to more impact projects.
He said the projects extended to include:
• building four permanent elementary classrooms in the Purosa area
• building one three bedroom teacher’s house at Purosa area,
• assisting with sewn timbers for double classroom building at Ke’efu primary school
• assisting with two teachers housing at Ke’efu primary school, and
• providing Waisa elementary school with V-crimp to replace bamboo wall.
In addition, 150 coffee pulping machines were bought and distributed to farmers in various villages in the district as part of coffee quality improvement and mattresses were supplied to Ivingoi Sub-Health Center Ward.Mr Kinne said HOAC also funded water supply projects in Irafo and Yasubi and is keen in fully completing it and moving onto implementing similar projects in other coffee growing villages.
HOAC was initially formed in 2004 with over 2000 members from North and South Fore and parts of Keyagana constituency. Since its inception, HOAC has gone one step further by obtaining organic and Fairtrade Certification from reputable international organizations; the NASAA and Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) from Australia and Germany respectively.
Mr Kinne said after receiving Fairtrade certification in 2005, HOAC has been selling coffee through its export agent Coffee Connections Ltd which receives Fairtrade premium of 20 cents per pound that goes towards tangible community development projects.