by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Papua New Guinea’s Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll says the government intends to develop robusta coffee in the coastal areas to increase coffee production and capture the Eastern Europe market.
It comes as Papua New Guinea looks to expand trade to countries like Russia, by establishing excess arrangements.
Tomscoll explained that with excess agreements, PNG Coffee can be imported untaxed so more bags can enter Eastern Europe markets at a lower price.
“Our coffee goes into the Western European countries, it lands at a lower price, so it remains very competitive to West African countries and Latin American countries,” he said.
“We just need to develop another excess agreement with Eastern European countries, that’s where the emerging market is for us.”
It comes as the Coffee Industry Cooperation begins programs for farmers to replant arabica coffee trees in parts of the Highlands and promote robusta coffee trees in the coastal regions of PNG.
95% of PNG Coffee is Arabica grown in the Highlands. While 5% is robusta, the coffee type grown in warmer climates on the coast. Districts in the Milne Bay province lead the way in robusta coffee cultivation.
In the next five years, coffee yields will have increased around the highlands and coastal regions. Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands provinces and parts of Madang and Milne Bay province on the coastal areas of the country.
But the increase in quantity means, a market is needed for the money to be made from export sales.
“An excess agreement to the Eastern European countries will make sure our coffee hits their market untaxed,” says Minister Tomscoll.
Preservation of the market share is also vital during these transition stages. Coffee Industry Cooperation’s Senior Researcher, Dr. Mark Kenny said that the current one per cent of the market share PNG Coffee has must be maintained.
“If we lose that one per cent of the market, close to fifty per cent of the country’s population will suffer,” says Dr.Kenny.
But, Minister Tomscoll is more optimistic, he says PNG’s market share can increase from one per cent. When quality beans are produced at large quantities, including robusta in the coastal areas and the Eastern Europe market is captured.