by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Chimbu
Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll launched the beginning of the coffee replanting from government funded nurseries that will be managed by Papua New Guinea’s Coffee Industry Cooperation throughout PNG.
Areas identified in the program include parts of the Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu and the Eastern Highlands.
Coffee Industry Cooperation Chief Executive Officer, Anton Benjamin says Papua New Guinean coffee trees need to be replanted to ensure that quality of export beans remain high.
“We need to replant trees to ensure that we keep the quality of coffee high,” says Benjamin.
Farmers Training and Extension Manager, Matei Labun said there are direct interventions being carried out to maintain and improve the quality of coffee, coming from Papua New Guinea.
Labun explained that the Coffee Industry Cooperation’s intervention programs include the mobilisation of local farmers in the Highlands to organise local farmers into cooperatives, training for farmers, and freighting coffee bags from remote parts of the Highlands and Milne Bay Province.
Research and Growers Services Division General Manager, Dr Mark Kenny, explained that coffee quality has declined compared to twenty years ago.
But, the real challenge for CIC to keep PNG as a quality producer of coffee, is to teach village farmers to replant and maintain coffee trees.
The national government has backed a Nationwide Nursery Program that will reintroduce new coffee trees to areas in Enga, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands Provinces.
The Coffee Industry Cooperation has backing from the government to implement these programs.
Agriculture & Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll launched the opening of one of the first nurseries on Friday 13 March, at Mauro Village in the SineSine district of the Chimbu Province.
In his speech, he said the government is directly investing K7 million to the local farmers by giving them new trees to plant.
“This partnership is between the people and CIC,” says Minister Tomscoll.
This replanting program will put Papua New Guinea at the top five of coffee producing countries in the next three years.