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The Quality of Smallholder Coffee in South Sumatra: The Production of Low-Quality Coffee as a Response to World Demand 1

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Improving the quality of Indonesia's coffee exports has been a priority of government and the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters for some years. Efforts to achieve this objective have, however, been hampered by misconceptions about the reasons why coffee producers and traders at each point in the marketing network do not deliver a higher quality product. The research reported here shows that price premia for higher quality coffee are not large enough to encourage greater quality enhancement. The world market for low to medium grades, used in the production of instant coffee, is much larger than that for high-quality coffee, and this preference is transmitted in the form of low incentives to improve the product. Failure to understand this has led to government policies which at best do not solve the quality problem and at worst exacerbate it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Harvard Institute for International Development

Publication date: April 1, 1992

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