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Highway thief turns to coffee

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By ZACHERY PER
NIME Miefa, a reformed Highlands Highway robbery group leader at Barola section near Kainantu, Eastern Highlands, has taken up coffee production.
This was revealed at the launch of Barola Coffee Cooperative on Wednesday.
Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso launched the cooperative with the help of Miefa and Barola youths.
It was witnessed by Eastern Highlands police commander Superintendent Alex N’Drasal and senior officers of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).
Soso commended Miefa for setting up the cooperative, with former criminals as members.
She said she was happy that the youths had thrown away guns and armed themselves with coffee seedlings to keep them busy.
“Miefa is a born leader but was leading in the wrong arena. Today, God has led him to the right direction,” she said.
“I congratulate you and your members for successfully launching the cooperative that will meaningfully benefit the people and help economic growth.”
She said the aproach taken is in line with the Government’s plan to support groups that are prepared to help themselves.
Soso helped the group with K100,000 as part of the first seed capital to start the cooperative and another K10,000 toward the preparation for the launching.
She urged the co-op members not to give up on what they have just started.
Miefa said he spearheaded the programme for the people and former criminals from his area to benefit from coffee farming.
“Our aim is to have members grow 1000 coffee trees each because we want to make Barola a paradise … we put away guns and drugs and now, we are taking up coffee,” he said.
N’Drasal said he assured Soso and the youths of his support.
He said police would work with the people to make the cooperative a success.
The general manager for research and growers services division of CIC, Dr Mark Kennry, said the coffee company has been working closely with the group and would continue to support them. He called on the Government to continue supporting the provincial government to help the new coffee cooperative.

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