Brewing a better future for PNG coffee
The Papua New Guinea Coffee Industry Working Group (Coffee IWG) reconvened in Port Moresby on Tuesday 21 March, 2023 after a lapse of two years to discuss all things coffee. The meeting was jointly organised by the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program and the Australia–Papua New Guinea Economic Partnership (APEP).
The meeting was attended by a total of 82 participants from all sectors of the coffee industry including coffee exporters, traders, processors, traders, farmers and farmers associations, logistics companies, freight forwarders, GoPNG agencies such Coffee Industry Corporation, Customs, Investment Promotion Authority and other donor partners.
The Coffee IWG is a stakeholder engagement and networking platform where issues affecting the coffee industry are raised, discussed and solutions found.
Joeri Kalwij, Chairman of the PNG Coffee Exporters Council and General Manager of New Guinea Highlands Coffee, stated that open dialogue among all stakeholders in the coffee industry is critical because it allows constructive discussion on the key challenges faced and effective solutions for a better PNG coffee industry.
“Open conversation amongst all stakeholders in the sector is critical since various players have diverse perspectives, goals, and concerns about the PNG coffee business.”
“This session will be beneficial when there are effective follow ups that lead to concrete actions and some improvements. The coffee industry also deals with the grim forecast of significant production decline and value losses if we cannot control the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) infestation.”
The Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) is an insect found around the world and prevalent in most coffee producing countries. It is among the most harmful pests to commercial coffee plantations and can attack 50-100% of berries on a farm if no control measures are applied.
Elijah Haro, a member of the Coffee IWG from Alpha Coffee, stressed that PNG should take a serious look at the specialty market.
“Papua New Guinea must seriously look at the specialty market, and formulate methods and mechanisms to assist farmers involve themselves more in specialty coffee. That will encourage farmers to produce quality coffee for a better price,” Mr Haro said.
PHAMA Plus and APEP will support CIC and the PNG coffee industry to improve productivity amongst smallholder farmers while shifting production where possible to pursue certified and specialty trade for better returns.
The Coffee IWG agreed on priorities and action plans that can be implemented collectively with the support of PHAMA Plus, CIC or other partners. As an immediate action following this meeting, the stakeholders agreed to meet in Goroka in the coming months to discuss and map an action plan for coffee berry borer control.