Community leader backs plan to revive coffee farming

Highlands

A COMMUNITY leader in North Waghi has backed the move by Jiwaka Governor Dr William Tongamp to revive the rundown Waghi Mek coffee plantations.
John Brian Nepi, from Bunum Wo of Kulaka tribe, North Waghi, suggested that leaders at the district, provincial and national level should look at the rehabilitation of the coffee plantations as a priority project.
From experience as a plantation manager in the 1970s and 1980s for the Wara Waghi group of coffee plantations, Nepi says coffee can be a huge revenue earner for the new province.
“That time when I was manager of several coffee plantations in Jiwaka and Western Highlands, we made a lot of revenue for the Western Highlands provincial government,” Nepi said.
He said Jiwaka did not have any resources to boost its internal revenue but could look to coffee as a major earner.
Nepi said around 10 to 15 coffee plantations owned and managed by Waghi Mek were covered in shrubs and its factory facilities were rundown.
He said Waghi Mek coffee plantations were originally a joined business arm of councils in Jimi, North Waghi and Anglimp-South Waghi districts. The business later
came under the management of Australian businessman Dick Hagon, until it was run down in the 1990s.
Nepi said plantation land title should be surrendered it to the provincial government to redevelop the rundown business.

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