By ZACHERY PER
OBURA-Wonenara MP John Boito has urged the Government to allocate money separately for the coffee.
“Half of the population of PNG relies on coffee for their livelihood,” he said.
“Some three million people depend on coffee.
“We want the Government to allocate separate money for the coffee industry, instead of putting it under the Agriculture Department.”
Mr Boito called on acting Minister for Agriculture Andrew Kumbakor to consider a separate budget for the coffee industry should there be any supplementary budgets this year.
He urged Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Anton Benjamin and new Coffee Industry Corporation CEO Navi Anis to prepare submissions for Mr Kumbakor to take up with the Government for a separate budget to the industry.
He made the call during the official taking of office by Mr Anis, who took over from well-known coffee personality Ricky Mitio.
“The coffee industry brings K400 million into Papua New Guinea every year,” Mr Boito said.
“I ask how much the Government provides for the industry every year.”
He said over K3.8 million given to CIC last year was used for coffee rehabilitation programmes in three districts in three provinces.
Mr Boito said much of the K100 million the Government allocated under the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) was consumed by “paper and computer farmers” from the corridors of Waigani.
Mr Kumbakor, in reply, said each MP received a separate K1million under their K10 million District Support Improvement Programme (DSIP) for agriculture development in their respective electorates.
“Your call is right,” he said.
“But after ‘computer and paper farmers’ exhausted the K100 million NADP funding, the Government took out K1 million each from the NADP money and gave it to MPs to develop agriculture, of which coffee is a major component.”
He said each MP must put the money where their mouth was and must get their priorities right by investing in coffee to help farmers and plantations. Mr Kumbakor urged them to maintain rural roads, bridges and address law and order problems – which were identified as major setback to the growth of the coffee industry.
Growers’representative Patrick Pomba said coffee bags were stranded in rural areas and growers needed good roads and bridges to bring these to market and increase PNG export figures.
He stressed that law and order problems such as tribal fights needed to be addressed.
Mr Pomba cited examples of coffee in Kompiam-Ambum in Enga being stranded because of bad roads and bridges, and of coffee in Baiyer River in Western Highlands being destroyed in tribal fights.
The Enga Smallholder Coffee Growers Association chairman called for direct funding from the Government to CIC, as the K1million to MPs may be diverted elsewhere.