Our Tanna Story
The Tanna Coffee Development Company (TCDC) was first established in 1982, to assist in the development of the newly independent South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Tanna Island was selected for a Coffee Development Program, due to it's history of Arabica Coffee production dating back to 1852. A large-scale plantation in conjunction with a ‘Smallholder Farmer’ program was established, and it was in operation until the early 1990’s. A combination of severe climatic conditions and coffee leaf rust disease caused its demise.
The Vanuatu Government, (who owned TCDC at the time), sold the ailing Company to private investors, who set about re-developing the potentially lucrative business. New, 'rust resistant', varieties of Arabica Coffee were introduced and planted out under the Smallholder Program, which resulted in encouraging production. Unfortunately, mis-management of the Program resulted in NIL harvesting for the following 4 years.
Terry Adlington (a coffee farmer from Australia) took over the company in 1998, and lived and worked with the farmers on Tanna Island for 3 years to educate them on the process of coffee growing, harvesting and processing their valuable product. Once established and producing quality coffee, TCDC moved to Port Vila to establish a Coffee Roastery and went about securing local and International customers.
The production grew over the next 13 years substantially, and in 2014, TCDC recorded a maximum production of over 86 tonne.
On 12 March 2015, Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu and all of it's 84 Islands. Rated as a Category 5, and with wind gusts up to 250km/hour, nobody stood a chance. Thousands of people's homes and livelihoods were destroyed, and a total of 12 lives were lost (7 from Tanna). 90% of the Tanna Coffee trees were destroyed leaving a total of 650 farmers without a source of income.
'We will rebuild' says Managing Director Terry Adlington. 'It's not an option to give up now, thousands of people's lives and futures rely on the re-development of Tanna Coffee, we won't lie down'.
Stumping, pruning and planting continues today. With a total of 8 tonne recorded this year for our first harvest (post cyclone), we can only go up from here, and we will. Watch this space.
The ‘Tanna Coffee’ plantation is located in beautiful Vanuatu at 400m above sea level. With an average annual rainfall of 2500mm, it is perfectly suited for growing 'Semi-Dwarf Catimor varieties of Arabica. These are hybrids developed from some of the worlds finest coffee stock. The deep rich volcanic soils of Tanna Island are both highly fertile and free draining and provide a pest-free environment which ensures that Tanna Island is ideal for growing the purest organic coffee in a sustainable, non-harmful manner.
CARRYING ON THE TRADITION
The first Arabica coffee was recorded being grown at Port Resolution on Tanna. The original varieties planted were 'Bourbon' from the Reunion Islands and 'Typica' from Jamaica. A selection of new 'Catimor' varieties were introduced and these are proving to be of a higher quality, more resilient and better suited to Tanna Island's unique environment.