Coffee is your backbone, official tells farmers

COFFEE as an industry is the bases of cash flow putting money into people’s pockets to buy goods and services, says manager of Coffee Industry Corporation’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP), Potaisa Hombunaka.

“Coffee is your backbone. You must look after your coffee trees and in return the trees will look after you.”

The PPAP coffee manager was explaining the likely impact of coffee berry borer (CBB) pest to some 200 farmers at Yamiufa Village in Lower Asaro LLG of Eastern Highlands Province, on Thursday 5 October, 2017.

Mr Hombunaka says coffee as an industry dictates cash flow, support business operations and create jobs both in the formal and informal sector in the highlands region.

“Some growers will want to abandon coffee for other fresh produce like broccoli, cabbage and kaukau because of CBB, but the question is where will people get money to purchase your garden produce?”

Mr Hombunaka explains coffee as an industry sustains the operations of other businesses that employ workers who earn an income to buy food at markets.

“If there is no coffee, people will have no money to buy your crops and you can forget going to the market because you will return to the haus lain with your produce.

“” I can tell you that.

“This is why you can’t ignore coffee.”

The villagers are part of a total of 1400 farmers who are rehabilitating their gardens under Outspan PNG – Coffee Division, a lead partner of CIC-PPAP industry rehabilitation program.

The occasion was to launch the presentation of tools and materials like secateurs, bush knives, spades, canvas and hand pulpers to farmers. Farmers pay a five per cent equity only to take ownership of the items. A grower would pay close to K1,500 for the tools.

Present at the ceremony were members of the 13th World Bank-led implementation support mission to check coffee rehabilitation in the country. Some senior PNG government officials from Department of Agriculture & Livestock, Treasury and Planning accompanied the mission.

The mission headed by Task Team Leader Mr Stephane Forman also visited cocoa and coffee rehabilitation activities in Morobe and Madang Provinces on Friday 6 – Sunday 8.

Today (Monday 9 October) the mission is visiting projects in Maprik and Yangoru areas of East Sepik Province. On Wednesday 11 October the mission will visit cocoa and coffee projects in East New Britain Province.

The coffee rehabilitation is a CIC project through the Department of Agriculture & Livestock. It is financed buy a loan facility from World Bank, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) with support funding from PNG Government.

Approved for release:

Potaisa H. Hombunaka (Mr)