Fear of reduced coffee trade in disease- stricken areas

Business, Main Stories

The National

THE effects of the present outbreak of cholera on coffee production in the Menyamya district of Morobe province would be known after the disease has been contained, the major coffee buyer in the district said yesterday.
Yha-Hauka Kopi Ltd general manager Finan Romaso said the coffee picking season was over and growers were now drying their coffee.
But, with the cholera attack on the people of Menyamya, he was uncertain on the number of growers who would be able to sell their produce.
Likewise, Mr Romaso said the company had already reduced its coffee-buying in the district due to the poor road conditions.
The company used to buy up to 120,000 bags of coffee annually, but this had now been reduced to half due to the poor condition of the main highway between Lae and Menyamya.
Yesterday, heavy trucks were able to get through to Menyamya but Mr Romaso said the condition of the feeder roads which connected the highway to the coffee producing villages remained in appalling conditions.
A cash flow problem was another factor contributing to the reduction in coffee-buying in the Menyamya and Aseki areas, he said.
Mr Romaso said the company was hoping Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare would give them the money he promised in 2007 so that they could increase coffee-buying and export.
Sir Michael had confirmed promising to give the company K1.5 million but until now, the company has not received anything.