By ELIZABETH VUVU
THE coffee industry in East New Britain has been restructured to effectively manage the province’s 195 co-operatives.
Chris Malaibe, chairman of the ENB Coffee Growers Co-operative Association, said managing the co-operatives under the old structure would be too cumbersome, costly and open to abuse and misuse of funds.
He said the association board endorsed the industry restructure last Wednesday during its annual general meeting.
The co-operative management has strongly recommended the industry restructure to make sure that it is aligned with the provincial administration’s new structure, Mr Malaibe said.
He said the province’s coffee industry should also meet the requirement of the Co-operative Society Act.
But most importantly, it should provide accountability and show transparency, he said.
Mr Malaibe said the restructure would also allow for a more convenient access to much-needed funds from stakeholders and donor agencies for the development of coffee, copra and other crops that would soon come under the same management.
He said the new structure now requires the 195 co-operatives to come under the board and four co-operative societies based on districts within the province.
Each district co-operative like that in Kokopo, Rabaul, Gazelle and Pomio will have its own board of directors and management group.
Mr Malaibe acknowledged all the coffee farmers for supporting the new structure and assured them the industry is being managed by the ENB Development Corp (ENBDC).
He said ENBDC is a very professional and credible management entity, and being the business arm of the provincial government, it is owned by the people.