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Coffee growers equipped to improve lives

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AN elder in the Asaro Valley of Daulo district in Eastern Highlands has urged coffee farmers to abandon their haus kunai (grass-thatched house) for a permanent house or home by 2020.
Philip Timbe, of Hatavile Coffee and a lead partner of Coffee Industry Corporation’s productive partnership in agriculture project (CIC-PPAP), was speaking to 400 farmers who had gathered to collect their basic coffee-gardening tools at Wantrifu Village last Saturday.
“Operation rausim haus kunai has commenced as of today. By 2020 everyone must own a permanent house,” Timbe said.
“If not, I will walk into the haus lain (community) with a box of matches to burn down all the haus kunai.”
Timbe asked the farmers to change their attitude, the way they thought and way of doing things to regard coffee as a serious business and utilise the earnings to improve their lifestyles and start saving for a permanent home.
“When we have bride-price commitments or to settle a court fine, we go into the coffee garden to pick a few cherries and walk out,” he said.
“With the pestilence of coffee berry borer (CBB), we have to start thinking and acting proactively to return the favour to the trees that have been providing for us.
“The CIC officers have been pruning and cleaning our coffee gardens and turn around to pay us as well for our labour.
“What kind of logic is this?”
The farmers, who had paid their five per cent equity or K65, were handed pulpers, canvases, pruning saws, secateurs, bush knives and knapsack sprayers under the industry rehabilitation tool intervention programme.
“These tools are not for you to go and sell,”  project manager Potaisa Hombunaka said.
“The purpose of the equity is for the farmers to take ownership of the items.
“We ensure equity payments are deposited back into the partnership account to service the farmers.”
Hombunaka explained to the farmers the purpose of PPAP coffee component as a government project financed by a loan facility from the World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development).
He said the principle aim of the coffee rehabilitation effort was to increase the yield of high, marketable-quality coffee for a premium payment.

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