I WOULD like to pay tribute to former CIC CEO Ricky Mitio who sadly retires from effective service to the coffee industry after 33 years of service.
As a simple coffee grower and keen follower of the industry over the years, I have watched how our industry has evolved over the years, the hardships that growers face and continue to face and more so the performance of the industry, both on the local on the international front.
While many may look at the big picture and continue to go on about the number of bags exported annually, many still fail to realise the fundamental factors that contribute to achieving this.
As a grower, we know firsthand the difficulties in getting out our beans to the market, or factory, which, sadly, the Government has failed in providing.
As such, CIC has had to shoulder much of the blame.
I recall how the industry was at an all time low and farmers were turning away from their coffee gardens when we saw no hope in the industry as farmers were not getting value for money for their efforts in producing coffee coupled with bad road infrastructure.
Mr Mitio heard the farmer’s cries and returned in 2002 and since then have brought back confidence and stability to the industry.
Farmers started returning to harvest their coffee although they were hampered by bad roads and inaccessible markets, they toiled through, knowing they were to getting value for money for their efforts, with Mr Mitio at the helm of the industry.
He is ìPapa Tru Bilong Kopiî and gave us new found hope to better our livelihoods through coffee.
Sadly, these days will now be drawing to an end if the good work and foundation you have laid is not carried on.
Mr Mitio, you brought back accountability and stability to our industry and your good work was most notable when the Public Accounts Committee cleared the CIC of any mismanagement, which today stands tall and a record among other government funded institutions.
Many of your other achievements stand tall today and we only hope your predecessor can emulate you to bring our industry forward.
I wish you well in the future and hope the Government or industry recognise you for the service you have given to the industry and country.