By ZACHERY PER
THE largest coffee cooperative in the Highlands region has thanked the Government for allocating K5 million towards the fight against the coffee berry borer (CBB).
Apo Angra Angna Kange (AAAK) Coffee Corporative general manager Brian Kuglame, pictured, said the allocation announced in the supplementary budget was a “rescue package for the coffee industry”.
He said the infestation of the borer must be contained otherwise the coffee industry, the major revenue earner for more than three million people, would be gone.
“On behalf of registered members of the AAAK Coffee Cooperative in Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Jiwaka and Western Highlands, I thank the Government for the K5 million,” he said.
The Government is expected to allocate more funding in the 2018 national budget to be tabled in Parliament next month.
Joining him in the acknowledgement are the four provincial chairmen of the cooperative – Nicholas Ello (Apo for Eastern Highlands), Jerry Kimam (Angra for Chimbu), Pastor Kombugl Kansiye (Angna for Jiwaka) and Stanley Konga (Kange for Western Highlands).
Ello said the borer was destroying coffee trees in the Asaro valley of Eastern Highlands and the need for more work to be done to contain the pest was crucial.
Kimam said the pest was affecting coffee trees in Kerowagi district on the border of Jiwaka and Chimbu.
“We need to save our coffee trees which we call our money tree,” he said.
Pastor Kansiye said when the pest was first detected in Jiwaka, the Coffee Industry Corporation and the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority did everything they could to contain it.
Konga welcomed the Government’s response to address the CBB issue which has the potential to wipe out the industry.
East Sepik governor Allan Bird said in Parliament last week the K5 million was a slap in the face for coffee farmers.
Bird said the threat of CBB was a serious problem that affected more than three million people.
He called on the Government to allocate more funding.
By ZACHERY PER