by Scott Waide – EM TV, Lae
A Morobe coffee cooperative that gained popularity for its people-driven approach to quality coffee farming and exports is moving to new heights, with construction on its new coffee mill beginning tomorrow.
The Boana-based Neknasi Coffee Cooperative began, with 200 farmers who were looking for a means of income to pay for their children’s education.
Neknasi is a story that has never failed to inspire.
It started with Mong Bungun, an elementary school teacher who was looking for a way to help parents pay for their children’s school fees. They started the cooperative, built a road, and bought vehicles. The next stage for the cooperative is a coffee mill.
“We’re going to start construction on a new coffee mill,” says general manager, Michael Toliman, who has been with the cooperative since it began in 2008.
Toliman, now the general manager of Neknasi, began helping the cooperative as a Coffee Industry Corporation extension officer. He then left his job and worked unpaid with farmers in the cooperative for a few years before Neknasi started to make its own money.
Tomorrow, Neknasi will announce the start of construction on a much talked about coffee mill. The Prime Minister is expected to open the coffee mill, signifying intese government interest in Neknasi’s success. This will give this landowner and coffee producer/exporter an edge over others.
This success story has travelled far and wide in Papua New Guinea. Neknasi has become a reference point and an example for many coffee producers in Menyamya, Kabwum and other parts of Morobe.