Western Highlands Province is the largest highland province of Papua New Guinea. Mt Hagen is the capital city of the province. The people of the province still live in tribal groups. These tribal groups form alliances with neighboring tribes and in the olden days those groups will defend enemy tribes. The cultural groups are more distinct, the people of Hagen Central, Mul, Dei and Tambul/Nebilyer have similar traditions and customs; different to the people of Baiyer and Jiwaka.
Western Highlands is centrally located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and shares common borders with Enga, Southern highlands, Simbu and Madang provinces. The province is diverse with mountains towering above 2800 meters such as Mt Giluwe and also low altitude such as Tsendiap in the lower Jimi which is about 600m above sea level.
The province is characterized by five (5) main interlocking valley systems including the main Waghi valley, Kaugel and Nebilyer, Mul/Baiyer and Jimi. It has extraordinary ecosystems which obtain the rare Bird Of Paradise in the low lying rain forest areas. The mountains ranges (Kumbor, Sepik/Waghi Divide and Bismarck) are covered with rain forest while with mountain ranges towards the west are covered by savannah grass.
Western Highlands have two seasonal climates dry and wet. Dry season begins in May and ends in October while wet season begins in early November and ends in April. Temperature rises to 27 oC during dry season and drops to 16 oC in wet seasons. The average rainfall varies between 2200 and 4000 mm, expecting heavy rainfalls in December, January and February months.
Altitude of the province ranges from 600m in the lower lands to 4000m in the upper lands. Most people live within an altitudinal range of 1400 – 2200 m. Much of the land is covered with grass and rainforest where Hoop and Klinki pine trees are common especially in Jimi and Tambul areas. Though much of the land is potential for farming, it has varied landscapes and high mountains ranging from as high as 3800 meters to 4300 meters above sea level.
Western Highlands soil is mostly black and clay loam and so rich that agriculture activities is also on the rise.
There were five (5) districts in Western Highlands province and they were all participating in the Coffee Profiling project. Project locations;Hagen Central, Mul/Baiyer, Tambul/Nebilyer , Dei and North Waghi districts. Recently the province was divided so that a new province called “Jiwaka” was created. 2012 will be the first year of elections where the Jiwaka people will elect their new governor. North Waghi district will now be part of the new Jiwaka province.
Coffee is the main cash crop followed by tea and other minor crops such as cardamom. Western Highlands is the largest coffee producer accounting for about 42-46% of PNG’s annual production. The people of Western Highlands are involved in sweet potato, potato and banana cultivation as well as other vegetables like broccoli, cabbages etc. The province is the most fertile and now supply most of vegetable needs to the LNG project as well as other mining locations. They also bring their produce to coastal cities like Lae and Port Moresby for marketing. Due to lower prices and higher inputs coffee farms require, some farmers are cutting down coffee trees to plant vegetables. Some do this so that they can supply the LNG project and get fast income from the sales.
Western Highlands Coffee Cup Profile
Common cup intrinsic qualities – .sweet, nutty, toffee, spicy, cocoa/chocolate, and caramel aromas with cup, sweet fruity, tea-like mouth feel, sweet fruity, citrus, juicy, clean, good body, tropical fruits, soft/smooth and balance in coffees.