Local entrepreneur and owner of Mitega coffee mill at 7-mile, outside Goroka town, has praised the efforts by Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and the Royal PNG Constabulary for carrying out the Cherry Trade Ban awareness in the recent months.
Jack Gasowo, who owns a dry mill factory, commended CIC on their tireless efforts in driving the message into coffee communities to stop the illegal trading of cherry coffee.
He said this was for the good of the coffee growers and they should support this cause by reporting illegal coffee traders.
“I can frankly tell you that the awareness is changing people’s mindsets in my community,” Jack states.
Recently after the continued awareness campaigns, a man from the Asaro area has come forward admitting he got more from selling green bean coffee than cherry and parchment.
Memba Ambo, from the Asaro area, said he saw the awareness was banning people from selling and buying cherry coffee, so he had no choice but to process his coffee to green bean to sell. Memba says he now sees a big difference in the income he receives.
“Mi lukim olsem dispela awenes i stopim ol lain long baim seri kofi na mi tu i prosesim kofi igo long grin bin. Taim mi mekim olsem, mi kisim gutpela prais long grin bin kofi.” (The awareness has made me stop selling cherry coffee as there is no one to buy my cherries. After processing to green bean, I am seeing a big difference in the income I am receiving).
Mr Gasowo said he is looking at accommodating the little farmers to process their coffees to green bean so they can see for themselves the difference in price between selling parchment and green bean.
Gasowo added he strives to educate his surrounding community so that they can prepare the coffee well, as people will consume it.
“That is how I see it and preparation needs a lot of hard work, however, the bottom line is that farmers have to be rewarded well for their hard work,” Gasowo says.
“People know about the cherry trade ban but they continue to ignore it and sell to get fast money,” he added.
Manager, Industry Regulation and Compliance,Michael Waim, said coffee is here to stay and every citizen of Papua New Guinea growing coffee must abide by the policy and regulation set by CIC to sustain the industry for better income earning.
Such approach taken by Mr Gasowo is viable and value adding. Therefore, coffee farmers around that locality are urged to take that opportunity by further processing their coffee into green bean for value adding.
Gasowo has been in the coffee business since 1983, and has a five hectare garden that has generated income to build his own house and start up the dry factory at Ifiufa outside Goroka town.
CIC General Manager, Steven Tumae, said people like Gasowo are showing the right path for others in coffee business to follow and safeguard the industry to maintain quality at all times.
“Price will complement the hard work you put into producing the same quality coffee every time,” Tumae says.
The six (6) restricted provinces in the highlands are Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Southern Highlands, Simbu and Enga.
The cherry trade policy restricts operators/dealers from buying and selling cherry coffee, except with consent from the Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd.