Farmers move to start saving fruits of their labour


HUNDREDS of coffee farmers in Pomio, East New Britain, have opened accounts with the Bank South Pacific’s Kokopo branch.
It was an initiative by the New Britain Resource Development Ltd, a lead partner of the Coffee Industry Corporation Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project, which is rehabilitating coffee gardens in Pomio for the farmers.
The growers and their families gathered at the Sinivit Local Level Government headquarters last week to open their accounts and save their earnings from coffee and other cash crops.
Farmer Leonard Muvet, 59, of Arabam in Warangoi, said it was very straightforward without too many questions asked.
“If I had gone to the bank, they would have sent me here and there and it can take two to three months,” he said.
Muvet has a block of coffee garden awaiting rehabilitation by extension and field assistant officers.
Among the women who joined the queue was Perpetua Isan, 26, from the Reid council ward in Sinivit who was with her two-month-old baby.
Isan said her father had some coffee blocks and gave her one to look after and earn some money. She was happy to open an account.
The farmers paid K10 only and were provided an automated transfer machine card or Kundu card on the spot.
BSP branch manager Joe Makinta shared with the farmers the importance of saving money.
“This is a good initiative because coffee can grow very well in Pomio. The only way is to set up a buying point here. They can’t transfer their coffee to Lae or other ports,” he said.
The lead partner is constructing a dry factory at Kabakaul in Kokopo. The processing mill is expected to be opened in the first quarter of next year. Project manager Potaisa Hombunaka said the opening of accounts was to facilitate the deposit of their coffee money directly into their accounts.
“Market access will be a thing of the past and some years down the road, East New Britain will displace some of the traditional coffee-growing provinces with increase national market share through increased production and sales,” Hombunaka said.