The National, Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Wapenamanda MP Miki Kaeok says he has up to 500,000 coffee seedlings at the district coffee nursery and another 500,000 seedlings in the pipeline.
Who is he trying to fool?
Let me ask Kaeok where he is keeping the 500,000 coffee seedlings because the space at the Wapenamanda nursery is very small and it cannot accommodate such a large number of coffee seedlings.
Who has actually taken a physical stock count of the Wapenamanda nursery?
When someone decides to do a stock take, he or she will definitely not find 500,000 coffee seedlings, probably around 200,000 at the most.
Secondly, I would like to ask the MP where he plans to plant the million coffee trees.
I am sure a lot of Wapenamanda people will agree with me that we do not have enough land to plant that many seedlings.
So where is the land?
Those who have been to Wapenamanda will agree with me that the area is made up mainly of rugged mountainous terrain and deep gorges which are unsuitable for cash crop cultivation.
They constitute about 30% of the entire land mass.
Of the remaining 70%, 40% is used for food gardens, houses and public utilities like schools, roads, churches, aid posts, etc, leaving 30% for planting coffee and different types of crops.
If the MP wants to uproot the old coffee trees and replace them with new ones, then that is fine but only some 50,000 to 70,000 coffee seedling can be planted at most.
You need to space out the coffee trees as set under the Coffee Industry Corporation guidelines and established coffee cultivation standards.
So where are the remaining 930,000 seedlings going to be planted?