Coffee production continues to drop

National, Normal

COFFEE production in Papua New Guinea continues to drop further and shows signs that it will continue to drop, according to a Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) representative.
Henry Mamp, who is the CIC provincial farmers training extension coordinator,  said in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province, last week that it was disheartening to note that of the 21 world’s coffee producers, PNG was ranked 20, or second last.
Mr Mamp said at its peak, PNG was exporting at least 1.2 million bags of coffee a year, however, the number had decreased to 800,000 bags per year.
He said this was part of some of the issues discussed in meetings conducted in various countries attended by representatives from the CIC.
Mr Mamp raised this concern on behalf of the Highlands coffee growers at the grassroots level, saying that Highlands growers would be the worst affected if production continued to a stage where it might not be viable to trade it on the world market.
He appealed to the Government and relevant stakeholders to work together to improve coffee productions as coffee generates about K400 million every year for PNG.
Mr Mamp claimed that the Government had allocated K3 million for the 15 coffee-growing provinces to boost their production targets but this had not really benefited the coffee growers at the village level.
He said a major initiative was currently underway, called district by district village coffee rehabilitation (DBDVCR) programme, conducted by the National Agriculture Development Programme to rehabilitate crops and boost production.
According to Mr Mamp, three districts in the Highlands provinces were selected to take part in this project.
They are Anglimp-South Waghi and Nondugl in Western Highlands province, Kundiawa, Gembolg and Kerowagi in Simbu province and Obura and Wonenara , Eastern Highlands province.
Mr Mamp also encouraged the coffee growers to look after their coffee gardens as it was an important cash crop and they were the ones who would suffer if low productivity continued.