New coffee board told to grow industry

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 8, 2011

EXODUS of energetic potential coffee entrepreneurs into greener pastures in the liquefied natural gas  fields is likely to stagnate the growth of the coffee industry.
Ombudsman John Nero pointed this out to new directors of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) board during a swearing-in ceremony in Goroka last Friday.
He challenged the new board members and management that mega resource development projects were likely to draw energetic manpower away from coffee industry which could cause coffee production to remain stagnant or decline.
“Despite all that is happening in mining and petroleum sectors at present, coffee still remains the premier commodity that will continue to sustain the livelihood of a third of the population in the future; in fact, when all is gone, coffee will be here to stay with other agricultural commodities,” Nero said.
He said the board, management and the government must make every effort to ensure the industry remained an attractive industry that put money into people’s pockets.
Nero congratulated the new directors on the board on behalf of the Ombudsman Commission, and said they had been recognised for their contribution towards the industry and were rewarded and elevated to these positions of public trust.
“Do well to discharge your duties and responsibilities without fear and favour with the simple coffee growers’ interest firmly etched in your mind,” he said.
He said they did not have to work to the detriment of the industry, the population and economy it supported; people were watching and they had a duty to the growers and stakeholders.
“If you work against the industry for whatever reason, you will see me right back in this board room with a different demeanor than the jovial one that we are having this morning.”
 He urged them not to get themselves into controversies that would see them lose focus on the real purpose for the existence of the industry and remain conscious at all times to grow the industry.
Public Service Minister Moses Maladina who also witnessed the swearing in called on the directors to provide advice to the government and work in collaboration to help grow the industry.
One of the directors Peter Kewa said they would work hard as a team to grow the industry in the next three years that they would serve on the board.
He thanked the government for appointing them saying they made several recommendations to the government but there was lack of consistencies between the government and the industry.
Director Max Kumbamong raised concerns on paper coffee farmers in Port Moresby squandering up the government’s K100 million national agriculture development programme fund.