Planters help local school

Highlands, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A COFFEE plantation and coffee export business in the Tairora area of Eastern Highlands continues to provide vital community services to children and nearby communities.
The Baroida Plantation is owned and operated by the third generation of the Colbran family under the business name Colbran Coffeelands Ltd.
Initially started by Ben Colbran in the early 1960s, the plantation acquired a coffee export licence from the Coffee Industry Corporation early this year under the management of father Nichol and his son, Chris Colbran.
While running their coffee operation, they saw there was a lack of vital government services like education, health, clean running water and good roads.
Despite their busy operation, they invested in a section of the Aiyura-Tairora road linking other major coffee estates like the Clarence and Korona plantations and major villages in the Obura-Wonenara district and parts of Okapa district.
Their road investment was recognised among others by the Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd in 2008 during the launching of the PNG Coffee Industry Strategic Plan 2008-18.
The Colbran family then started an elementary school in 2009 for the children of its staff and the surrounding communities.
“When coffee plantations are supported and allowed to operate, the benefit flows to the community for generations, and in rural areas, coffee farmers get to enjoy services provided by the government,” Colbran said.
“It is another example of lukautim kopi na kopi bai lukautim yu.”
The school, known as Baroida Plantation School, has built more classrooms and grown from elementary 1 and 2 to include Grades 1, 2 and 3.
They hope to continue developing the school up to Grade 6 in the coming years.
“The school has been trying to get government support since 2006 as yet the government officials have not managed to get it registered, so we just continue to improve the school in the hope that one day the government will do something.”
Digicel Foundation and the Lae Biscuit company have supported them with Digicel school bags, a container with side windows for ventilation and LBC note books.
The container is being used as a community learning centre for health, education and other vital services.
Anyone wishing to support the school in any way can contact the Colbran office phone: +675 7157 5985, Fax: +675 331 97306, or email colbran [email protected]