Course teaches islanders on coffee

National, Normal

The National, Monday 15th April, 2013

 BEATRICE and David Alwyn may be rightfully called the ‘first couple’ of coffee in Milne Bay province.

The couple, from remote Daga, north of Alotau, were among 55 coffee growers from remote areas of the province who completed a week-long course in basic husbandry practices, agronomy, harvesting, and processing techniques at Bubuletta outside Alotau last Friday.

Beatrice and another young woman, Lina Tutuna, were the only ones among males.

Beatrice and David,  aged 27, with two young children,  started growing coffee two years ago, now have 5,000 trees on two hectares of land, and expect their first harvest later this year.

While many other young people in Milne Bay and Papua New Guinea are turning to alcohol and drugs, not so the Alwyns.

“I’m very privileged to have attended this training,” Beatrice told The National. “Through this training, I have learned so much about maintaining my coffee trees.

“Through this help, I’ll go back to my own land and tend my coffee trees.

“Over the last three years, I have struggled so much with coffee problems, and what I have learned from the Coffee Industry Corporation and the division of agriculture and livestock, I will apply to my coffee block.”

David says since he was taught about coffee growing by provincial agriculture adviser, James Duks, he has never looked back,

“We started growing coffee about two years ago,” he said. 

“In the middle of this year, it should start to bear fruit.

“I think around September or October this year we should have our first harvest.”

David completed Grade 10 at Holy Name High School in Dogura, while Beatrice did her education at Rabaraba Vocational Centre.”

He is encouraging young people to turn to the land and grow coffee, rather than wasting away their lives on alcohol and drugs.

“My advice to my other young friends is that drinking is not a god thing,” David says.

“We take drugs, we do bad things.

“I’ve been telling them to grow coffee.”