There is welcome news for coffee farmers in rural Papua New Guinea: export prices have gained due to droughts in Brazil-the world’s largest producer of Arabica, and Robusta coffee.
While, more work has to be done to get coffee beans from rural PNG for export, some Lae exporters say there hasn’t been much activity, because of the festive season.
The drop in coffee export volumes from Brazil is an opportunity for the Papua New Guinean economy to cash in, but the country still has its problems.
The lack of infrastructure to support local famers means the country will not fully capitalize on this rare chance.
It’s a stark reminder of the neglect previous governments had on existing infrastructure, like roads and bridges.
If the infrastructure were maintained, and the right extension work was given to the rural farmers, opportunities like this would be fully exploited; coffee bags from parts of Morobe and the Highlands would now be in Lae ready for export.
Places like Menyamya, Wasu, Nawae, Kabwum (Morobe) and Marawaka in the Eastern Highlands are examples of places that could contribute to coffee exports in a big way, but they need the roads and bridges to get them to Lae.
Coffee export has contributed consistently to Papua New Guinea’s export revenue- one million bags a year.
Last year K500 million was made, but it is shadowed by the billion Kina extractive industry.
Last year, PNG leant some hard lessons when oil and mineral prices slumped and put the country through cash flow problems.
This showed the need for a diversified economy.