By TROY TAULE UPNG journalism student
A VISITING Australian sporting legend has likened sports to growing coffee, saying both are means to build communities and help resolve everyday issues in the country.
Former Wallaby skipper John Eales said while building communities was important everywhere, it was especially so for a country like Papua New Guinea.
He was speaking at a coffee-tasting ceremony in Port Moresby to promote small coffee growers’ projects implemented under the PNG-Australia Agricultural Research and Development Support Facility (ARDSF).
“Issues such as increasing the prominence of the role women play in society can be solved to some extent,” he said.
Eales is also the non-executive director of GRM International, which manages the agriculture research and development facility.
Australian High Commissioner to PNG Ian Kemish said GRM and AusAID’s agricultural innovation grants scheme (AIGS) were piloting a competitive funding mechanism for smallholder growers to shape development in the rural areas.
He said a budget of A$7.5 million had been allocated for this purpose, stretching between 2007 and 2012.
Kemish said AIGS had already embarked on a coffee curriculum development pilot project underway in five provinces.
According to available statistics, the coffee industry in PNG supports more than 350,000 families with an annual earning of K300 million, making it the largest by any economic sub-sector.