Coffee industry sees drop in production


LOCAL coffee production has decreased from one million bags in 2011 to 800,000 bags this year, according to a coffee company.
Monpi Coffee Exports financial controller Joap Varap said when domestic coffee productions were high, PNG provided 1 per cent of the world’s coffee exports. In recent years, production has declined with PNG exporting less than 1 per cent.
Varap said the coffee industry was facing challenges in terms of prices and production.
“Most of the trees are 100 years old. People aren’t planting new trees,” Varap said.
“The old trees are yielding lesser beans. Also without support from the industry, people are moving away from coffee. Some are cutting down trees and planting other cash crops.
“It’s not like in the 70s and 80s where plantations were run by well-established companies. The companies have left and people are taking back their customary land.”
Varap said during a breakfast hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week that poor infrastructure, bureaucracy and export licence regulation also contributed to the decline in coffee production.
“Poor infrastructure means people cannot bring their coffee to the market. The road from Mt Hagen to Lae is bad. Coffee is wasted when there is no access to market,” he said.
“Also, delays in document clarification at the ports have resulted in coffee exports reaching their destinations before the proper paperwork. The Coffee Industry Corporation must regulate the issuing of export licences to ensure quality over quantity.  Quality determines the sale price of coffee.”