The people of Mohuveto number 2 village in Bena District, Eastern Highlands Province, have two reasons to celebrate last week on Thursday 18 January, 2018.
They launched their coffee cooperative group and a 100,000 coffee seedling nursery and sold the first 10,000 to a coffee processing firm.
Officiating at the occasion was MP for Goroka Open and Vice Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. Henry Ame.
Mr Ame said the O’Neill/Abel-led government is focused on growing the agriculture and has allocated close to one billion Kina. He therefore urges the growers to utilize this opportunity to take part actively in agricultural activities.
“We have put funds in the National Development Bank for genuine farmers operating under groups like yours to benefit. Out your papers together and go to Port Moresby.”
The vice minister also challenged CIC to ensure two million bags of coffee is exported by 2022.
In terms of coffee berry borer (CBB) pest, the vice minister said the government will continue to support with funding.
“We have appropriated over K30 million to coffee industry. With CBB we need to manage it and government will continue to support.”
The coffee nursery is a partnership project between CIC and the landowners in 2017. The CIC funded the project with K50,000 and senior officer in charge of EHP Samson Jack took the lead in the set-up, training and overseeing of the very well managed nursery.
Vice Chairman of Numux Coffee Cooperative Wanpis Max said the growers group started slowly with 38 members only in 2014, but have now registered with Investment Promotion Authority in November 2017.
The group has successfully participated in 2016 National Coffee Cupping competition. It is also an active participant in coffee rehabilitation under Outspan PNG, a lead partner of CIC’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP).
The farmers also benefited from some tools and materials like bush knives, secateurs or scissors, spades, hand coffee pulpers and canvas for coffee drying under CIC-PPAP’s tool intervention program.
The group leader said they are excited and willing to partner CIC in more nursery projects.
“We have demonstrated what we can do. In the next project we want to work with one million coffee seedlings in this area.”
“We have no minerals like others. We rely on coffee. Government is short of money so we the people have to work on our land,” said group leader Max.
Community lead Newman Moso thanked CIC for the partnership but wanted to see more seedlings planted in the area before remaining ones are sold to others.
Also in attendance at the launching were Chairman of CIC-PPAP Ian Mopafi and Project Manager Mr Potaisa Hombunaka, deputy chairman of CIC board of directors Ellyson Ketauwo and general manager for Industry Operations Steven Tumae.
Mr Tumae speaking on behalf of chief executive officer Charles Dambui called on the vice minister and Department of Agriculture and Livestock to support coffee development work already taking place in the area.
“We can extend the capacity to one million seedlings on a Kina-to-Kina basis. Partnership is important.”
Project Manager for CIC’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP), Mr Potaisa Hombunaka urged the farmers to work in a group to attract changes into their communities.
“If you want help, help yourself first. This kind of group attracts attention. NGOs, donors are looking for vehicles to drive changes. Also because it is easy to deliver services through groups.”
Also present at the launching were some representatives of some coffee processing and exporting firms like Outspan PNG and non-governmental organizations Oxfam and Care International.
Outspan was the first buyer of the nurseries with a cheque presentation of K15,000 for 10,000 seedlings.