While coffee growers in areas closer to towns have not much trouble bringing their produce to sell at coffee- buying establishments, much of the produce that is grown in the country’s vast rural area goes to waste, as there are no road links. In addition to that, air transport is either expensive or non-existent.
Lower Daribi in the Karamui-Nomane District of Chimbu Province is one of those many rural places where people loyally tend their coffee hoping to improve their livelihood. A two- hour walk away is Negabo airstrip, which currently serves 13 council wards in lower Daribi in the district. Farmers in lower Daribi walk to Negabo airstrip to get on a service flight to Goroka. Other times, when the planes do not land, people walk up to four days to get to the nearest government station in Gumine in Chimbu and pay for a K50 ride into Kundiawa town.
On Thursday October 29th, 2020, farmers in the area received much-needed coffee pulpers from the Coffee Industry Corporation. A team led by General Manager Industry Operations Steven Tumae and Manager Farmer Training and Extension Matei Labun travelled to Negabo on an Adventist Aviation charter to present the 50 coffee pulpers to the community.
Mr Tumae told the farmers to mobilize and work in a group so that they can receive more income through group marketing. He urged the community not to depend entirely on the government but help themselves with whatever little they have and assistance will come in as seen in the presentation of pulpers.
Tumae was pleased to visit the community and personally see the rugged terrains this coffee community was situated in. “I am glad that I am able to come today to your village and see where we give assistance to. I commend you for your commitment to continue farming coffee despite current hardships you face.”
Mr Labun encouraged the community to not give up but keep on striving on in whatever good they are doing in coffee work. “We will struggle but there will come a time when we will slowly see some changes. If we wait for the government, we will wait for the rest of our lives.”
Labun told the farmers to organise themselves and distribute the pulpers evenly among the 13 council wards, as the supply could not cater for everyone. He challenged the farmers to do away with the mentality of wanting results immediately but to be hopeful and work hard towards a long-term goal for the betterment of everyone. Labun said that CIC was ready to work with organised farmer groups and those that are willing to help themselves. “This is a start and we must all work together to make it happen.”
The presentation of the pulpers comes after the construction of a storage shed and mini huller in May 2019. A commitment made during that time to give pulpers eventuated last Thursday.
Farmer Jacob Ahanigai from Noru is a disabled farmer, however he has been cultivating coffee to pay for his children’s education. “Mi save rausim skin blong kofi wantaim han blong mi na save salim kofi nabaut na mi no save kisim mani gut. Kofi masin em nid stret blong mi na mi tok hamamas na tenkyu long CIC long givim displa ol masin long helpim mipla. (I have been removing the coffee husks with my fingers to help me sell and I am grateful for the support from CIC to present us with these pulpers).”
Ward 12 Councillor Simon Asai acknowledged the support by CIC. He said they have not sent any coffee bags out to market due to inconsistent flights and high charter cost by third level airlines.
“We only need good roads to connect us to the market to sell our produce.” He said community leaders have now mobilized people in the community and they continue to maintain the airstrip.
You have assisted us through the freight program, construction of the mini-huller and now with the presentation of pulpers, we are more than happy. We still need another big storage building to house all our coffee bags. Asai said they were grateful for the support by the Chimbu Provincial government who constructed the storage house near the airstrip; however, it can only cater for 120 bags. Once it reaches its capacity, we store close to 500 plus bags in the open kunai thatched houses awaiting the next flight to arrive to move the bags out. A chartered flight can only take 20 bags out at one time.
The same community had to burn 200 parchment coffee bags in 2009 when they waited for the longest period for the next flight to go into the area.
Meanwhile, local leaders are currently carrying out a ward survey in the 13 council wards to distribute the 50 coffee pulpers given.
APPROVED FOR RELEASE:
General Manager- IOD