The PNG Agriculture Commercialization and Diversification (PACD) Project’s Industry Coordination Committee (CIC-PACD ICC) has expressed grave concerns on the widespread infestation levels of coffee berry borer (CBB) in the country following reports that the pest was now present in six provinces since confirmation of same at Banz, Jiwaka in early 2017.
This concern was expressed at its first meeting held in Goroka last Thursday. CIC-PACD ICC Chairman Ian Mopafi said that it was no longer Coffee Industry Corporation’s (CIC) concern but an industry issue that has not been given the attention it needed.
“We have been expecting too much from CIC and the problem is bigger than what CIC can do and the industry must come together to address this urgent issue facing the coffee industry. We need leadership at different levels to stand up and speak as industry needed people on behalf of the grassroots.”
CIC-PACD Project Manager Potaisa Hombunaka said that the government must support CIC as it is the agency responsible for coffee matters and all funding should be given to CIC to counter the CBB infestation of the industry. He added that in 2017 when CBB was confirmed to be present in the country, the industry never stood up together to strongly address the incursion. This is unlike when Cocoa Pod Borer was confirmed in ENB in 2006. The cocoa industry stood as one voice and government allocated K30m to combat the pest. Sadly for Coffee Berry Borer only CIC stood up and was allocated only K5m which is a drop in the ocean for an industry who on average brings in K500m annually.
According to a recent publicity, the PNG Coffee Industry on average earns over PGK500 million in total export revenues contributing about USD150 million in foreign exchange. In 2022, PNG coffee total FOB value was well over PGK 850 million which is 8% lower than its record earnings of over PGK 920 million in the bumper crop year of 2011. Total export volume in 2022 was 840,000 60kg bags which is 31% lower than in 2011.
CIC monitoring and surveillance results indicate significant losses attributed to CBB. Yield result observations are within the upper limits of 50% correlated with a similar 50% decrease in incomes. This implies that a smallholder farm/household production of 10 parchment coffee bags would decrease to 5 bags at incursion and left unchecked and or un-mitigated it is likely the number could go lower.
From incursion in 2017 to the current date, the infestation levels have escalated progressively, causing huge economic losses to the tune of over K340 million representing lost income opportunity. The calculated opportunity losses in PGK in 2018 alone was K72.61 million, K66.3 million in 2019, and K67.23 million in 2020. A total of K206.1 million has been lost due to the CBB incursion and spread throughout the country in only three years. It is further estimated that a further K140 million in income opportunity losses was faced by the PNG Coffee Industry in 2021 and 2022.
With these industry reports and observations, the CIC-PACD ICC is now calling on the coffee industry stakeholders to come together to combine resources and manpower to address CBB.
Meanwhile, a two-day meeting with all industry players is currently being organized to bring everyone together to maximize current efforts on the ground.
APPROVED FOR RELEASE:
CIC-PACD Project Manager