The effort to relocate the coffee processing mill from Wewak to Maprik in East Sepik Province has started. Early this month agri-firm Weni and Mandol Investment Ltd started erecting the foundation of a warehouse for the green bean processing factory at Banialla, Ami junction, in the Abiges-Mamblep LLG.
This is an initiative of Anton Areka, managing director of Weni and Mandol Investment Ltd, a lead partner of Coffee Industry Corporation’s productive partnerships in agriculture project (CIC-PPAP). “I want the warehouse to be completed soon to transport coffee processing machines to Maprik before end of this year,” said Mr Areka.
A ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremony took place at the factory site in June 2018, witnessed by provincial administrator Dr Clement Malau and Industry Coordination Committee members of PPAP after their meeting in Wewak. The main beneficiaries will be rural growers of Maprik, Wosera-Gawi, Ambunti-Drekikir, Yangoru-Saussia, Angoram in East Sepik plus Nuku and Lumi in West Sepik. The decision to relocate to Maprik was to provide market access to growers in the hinterland also known as Sepik central. Growers from these remote districts will take part in integrated farming with cocoa, vanilla and other agriculture activities to avoid dependence on a single cash crop.
According to CIC, the annual return or income from coffee in Sepik Central alone was estimated at half a million kina. The factory will increase coffee production and income to support internal revenue generation and economic growth for the province. The manager of CIC-PPAP Mr Potaisa Hombunaka therefore urges the provincial government and its administration to support setting up of the factory in Maprik. “I ask the administrators of East Sepik Province and Maprik district to support Weni and Mandol Investment in this effort. “This green bean processing factory is the key to revive coffee production in the province,” said Mr Hombunaka.
Weni and Mandol Investment is reviving rundown coffee gardens in Sepik Central with 839 growers covering 419 hectares in partnership with CIC-PPAP. The coffee rehabilitation effort is financed by World Bank and IFAD or International Fund for Agricultural Development under a loan arrangement with PNG government. On Friday 22 March, the lead partner paid a total of K150,000 in cash to 36 cluster groups (including three Arabicas) who participated under its first group marketing initiative through Kundu Coffee firm based in Lae. “This is the first and we’re happy. We went through some agents and pay them fees but with the new factory we should be okay,” said a content chairman of Wasambu Coffee Cooperative Pastor James Ali. The lead partner Mr Areka explained to the farmers that the payment was from one of two containers exported overseas.
Second payout will follow once payment is received. The Coffee Industry Corporation will consider and issue export license to Weni and Mandol Investment Ltd once the Maprik factory is operational. The CIC-PPAP field technical officer Steven Tevo said many coffee cooperative groups who took part in the group marketing were previously operating under CIC. “Their coffee production was around one container until PPAP coffee took them onboard under the coffee rehabilitation program. The production doubled due to the massive awareness and rehabilitation under the program. “We must give credit to Joshua Gafie Malaiwe. “Plus other CIC officers who have been doing the hard yards until PPAP coffee work began two and half years ago. Some of this groups were looked after by him and the high breed Omuru 1 clone coffee were planted during his term,” said Mr Tevo.