SIX impassable roads in the Highlands have been identified for Government to work on to allow access to rural-based coffee farmers.
The industry coordination committee (ICC) overseeing the Productive Partnerships in Agricultural Project (PPAP) identified these roads:
- 74km Tabigua Station-Koinambe Station (Jimi, Jiwaka);
- 18km Keu-Elimbari-Siane-Keu (Chuave, Simbu);
- 10km Yulip-Maramb and 20km Yulip-Nenembus (Kompiam, Enga)
- 30km Maupini-Wala (Pangia, Southern Highlands); and,
- 50km Lufa Station-Unavi via Gouno road (Lufa, Eastern Highlands).
This link will service more than 50,000 growers in Crater Mountain, a tri-border area where Eastern Highlands, Chimbu and Gulf meet.
ICC chairman Ian Mopafi, pictured, says the unavailability of accessible roads has been the main obstacle against efforts to meet coffee production targets set by the national Government.
“Rural roads in all parts of the country, including coffee-growing provinces, have deteriorated and become impassable,” he said.
“This is making it difficult for 80 per cent of between three and four million growers who are concentrated in the countryside to transport their coffee to the market.
“This is the same story in all the places.
“Growers have come to treat coffee as a social tree because they don’t see the economic value in it.”
The identifying of these roads was done following an invitation by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Richard Maru to identify key roads for consideration in the 2018-2022 Third Medium Term Development (MTD) Plan.
The invitation was given during the National Planning Consultative Summit in Lae in March this year.
“We can encourage our growers to improve their gardens and to produce better quality coffee, but if there is no road and market access facilities, our effort will become meaningless,” Mopafi said.