The small village of Tibunofi in Kamano 2 LLG of Eastern Highlands province came alive last Wednesday (November 30th, 2016) when it witnessed the launching of a centralized wet processing facility, coffee warehouse and a 100,000 coffee nursery project.
Present at the ceremony were senior officers from the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation, provincial government representatives and the surrounding communities.
Tibunofi coffee cooperative, the 2nd runner up winners of the 2016 coffee competition has proven against all odds that they can sell their coffees directly to overseas markets.
Tibunofi, together with the top four coffees from the coffee competition will be seeing new heights after exporting their first shipment of coffees to a buyer in New Zealand last month.
Manager Farmer Training and Extension Mr. Matei Labun told the community that the concept of forming cooperative was not new to PNG culture but has been part of our lives as far as family and community support is concerned.
He emphasized that a lot of cooperatives that continued with the group’s vision despite the many challenges, lasted and served their members well, which Tibunofi is one of those groups who has come a long way.
“By connecting you (Tibunofi) into the New Zealand market is the start of more good things to come into your community.”
He added that CIC wanted to work with communities who are organized and are always striving to bring out positive changes in their communities.
Tibunofi chairman Mr.Roy Minise said there were a lot of discouragements when the group was formed in 1995.
“I am very proud today and do not regret putting all my resources into planting coffee.” Minise and his group currently have 11,700 coffee trees and with the support of CIC, they believe they can fully participate under the Tree to Cup policy.
Minise who left his teaching career of 20 years to give more time to coffee work, said the reason for entering the competition was not with the intention to win but to find out if their coffee had unique flavours.
Tibunofi is expecting approximately one hundred per cent increase in price with this shipment to the New Zealand market.
Fraser Lovell of Coffee Supreme in New Zealand, and also the head judge for the 2015 PNG coffee competition, said since his involvement in 2015, it has been pleasing to see the growing interest in the competition from the coffee farmers as well as the improvement in the quality of the coffee being entered into the competition.
“PNG has some truly unique cup profiles just waiting to be discovered and think there is huge potential for the specialty market in the future.”
From left: CIC’s Dr Reuben Sengere digging the soil with CIC Farmer Training & Extension Manager Matei Labun and Food Technologist Stilla Frisu cutting the ribbon at the ground breaking ceremony of Tibunofi coffee cooperative of Kamano 2 in Eastern Highlands province last Wednesday.