by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Last week, a community in the Unggai-Bena District of Eastern Highlands province celebrated the official launching of the Libatihuto Coffee Cooperative.
Young men and women from Sakanuga village have taken ownership of restoring the name of their coffee growing community. Hence, the name Libatihuto, meaning “resurrect” in the Bena language.
Over the last decade the community has not seen coffee production. However, since 2012 they had taken the step towards reviving it, and the launching was a huge achievement for the people of Sakanuga.
The milestone had members from the District Office, Provincial Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Coffee Industry Corporation, and NGO partners present to celebrate. Sugarcane was cut to mark the official launch of the cooperative.
A young leader, Lokia Hepi, says Libatihuto Cooperative wanted to revive what previously existed in the community and pointed out that there’s great potential to contribute to the coffee volume exported, and improve upon quality through the group’s initiative of mobilising and reviving the nearby rundown plantations.
“As an educated person, I am trying to drive these initiatives into my people’s mindsets.
“The young men in the village have already realised that with their coffee and land, there is potential for the community,” Hepi said.
Dr. Mark Kenny, CIC General Manager for Research and Extension, present at the launch told the villagers that they must first take ownership in making it work, for the community to change.
He also assured the people that CIC would support them in what they’ve started.
Since it started, the Libatihuto group already had gone a step ahead by piping water supply from a water source to their village, from their own pockets, and cleared bush from the Sakanuga main road to the big village.