Farmers request coffee storage houses
BY: Cedric Patjole
Coffee farmers in Middle Ramu, Madang Province, have requested for storage houses to be setup to improve the marketability of coffee beans.
Stallholders have requested to the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) under the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) to set up the storage houses at several serviceable airstrips in Simbai and Kovon areas of Middle Ramu District.
The request was made during a nine-day visit into the mountains of Simbai and Kovon by a PPAP-CIC team.
PPAP-CIC Project Manager, Potaisa Hombunaka. Says lack of road and market access continues to remain a hindrance, not only for the farmers but also for the general population in these two remotely located areas.
“We will discuss with the Diocese of Aipo Rong – Anglican Church of PNG
(ACPNG) as our lead partner implementing the coffee rehabilitation activities with farmers in these LLGs as a way forward.
“The growers can’t earn a fair price for their hard work despite our effort to improve coffee gardens with distribution of tools and training on best practices,” Hombunaka says.
Simbai and Kovon are only accessible by small Mission Avuation (MAF) planes which use eight airstrips located on mountain tops.
The development of the storage sheds, with an estimated capacity to hold 200 bags and will cost an estimated K50,000 to build.
This storage sheds will promote the following:
To help coffee farmers deliver parchment coffee to a central location for potential buyers including coffee processors and exporters;
To create and mobilise interest among stakeholders for the setting up of coffee processing mills in Simbai and Kovon to buy directly from growers.
To give growers the opportunity to negotiate a better or fair price;
To monitor and record coffee production efficiently from these locations;
To strengthen farmer groups or growers’ cooperatives to work together;
To encourage and develop group marketing concept among growers and cooperatives to sell green bean coffee directly overseas for a premium price, etc.
Vincent Kaniemba, the Project coordinator for ACPNG has started the process of talking with a traditional landowners at Dusin airstrip to make available a portion of land for construction of the first storage shed should PPAP can fund the shed under it’s Infrastructure Market Access component.
Kaniemba who also coordinated the CIC-PPAP teams recent visit to the Simbai and Kovon said growers will continue to carry coffee bags and walk two to three hours to these storage sheds.
“This is the least we can do to ease the hardship or struggles farmers here are facing until such time a road connects them to either Mt Hagen or Madang,” he said.
The PPAP-CIC in partnership with ACPNG under call 2 is currently working with 877 farmers in the area covering 345 hectares.
The rough terrains and fast flowing rivers make coffee development work a big challenge, hence PPAP-CIC is considering new approaches to deliver coffee improvement work under call Three and Four.
Coffee remains the main source of income for the people but because of air freight cost they currently sell their parchment coffee to middle men or agents at a very low price of between K1.70 and K2.30 per kilogram.
The latest weekly factory door price issued by CIC for class 1 parchment coffee is K4.87 per kg and K3.83 per kg for class 2 coffee.
The PPAP-Coffee Component is a CIC project under the auspices of Department of Agriculture & Livestock. It is financed by a loan facility from World Bank (IDA) and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) with counter-funding from PNG Government.