Gelehi village in the Ungga-Bena district of Eastern Highlands Province witnessed a significant occasion yesterday (15.06.2016) when a mini grid solar power system for lighting and coffee processing was officially launched.
The event marks a milestone and is the first ever solar system to be trialed out in the country to be used to power a coffee pulper and also provide lighting for homes in the community of Gelehi.
The partnership was forged through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Coffee Industry Corporation and MG Corporation of Japan.
Through this partnership, the solar pulper system was designed and supplied by MG Corporation to undergo a trial in Gelehi to aid coffee pulping, and if successful the model will be replicated in other coffee growing communities throughout the country.
CIC Research & Growers Services Division General Manager Dr Mark Kenny expressed great satisfaction in this new technology.
“The coffee industry has been the mainstay of the smallholder farmers and what CIC intends to is to lead this people under the government’s tree to cup policy. We have been looking for ways to make that become a reality and this partnership provides a link between the growers and market and also sourcing alternate technologies to improve the way farmers process their coffees.”
MG Chief Executive Officer Kamal Goundar said that his he had been working with his partners in PNG on PNG projects for more than 7 years and one of the objectives of his company was to promote PNG coffee to the Japanese market. “Japan has a huge coffee demand and therefore I can promise you that if you can meet their quality and delivery requirements, price should not be a problem.”
He further told the community that the solar pulper will help change their coffee lifestyle. “During the day you can pulp the coffee and at night it will provide light for your houses.”
The new technology will run on an automotive system generated by solar energy, enabling the farmer to do other duties rather than hand pulping coffee.
PNG currently exports 6 percent of its total coffee production to Japan. With this new partnership, it is anticipated to gradually increase the current trend of exports to Japan and possibly secure premium prices for groups involved in the long term.
Pastor Albert Ukaiya of New Life Mision in Gilehe told the officials present that his community was grateful to be the first community to have this solar system piloted in their village, and they will give their undivided support to CIC and MG Corporation to fully implement it.
Kamal Goundar of MG Corporation of Japan and CIC’s Dr Mark Kenny cutting the ribbon to officially launch the new solar system that will be used to power coffee pulpers.