THE Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) is been asked to set up coffee storage houses for farmers at several serviceable airstrips in Simbai and Kovon areas of Middle Ramu, Madang Province.
The storage capacity for one shed will be 200 coffee bags and one will cost around K50,000 to build.
“Lack of road and market access continue 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,” said project manager Potaisa Hombunaka.
The only way in and out of Simbai and Kovon is by small MAF planes which use eight mountaintop airstrips.
This storage sheds will:
- HELP coffee farmers deliver parchment coffee to a central location for potential buyers including coffee processors and exporters;
- CREATE and mobilise interest among stakeholders for the setting up of coffee processing mills in Simbai and Kovon to buy directly from growers.
- GIVE growers the opportunity to negotiate a better or fair price;
- MONITOR and record coffee production efficiently from these locations;
- STRENGTHEN farmer groups or growers’ cooperatives to work together;
- ENCOURAGE and develop group marketing concept among growers and cooperatives to sell green bean coffee directly overseas for a premium price, etc.
Project coordinator for ACPNG Vincent Kaniemba has started the process by talking with a traditional landowner at Dusin airstrip to make available a portion of land for construction of the first storage shed should PPAP fund the shed under its Infrastructure Market Access component.
Mr Kaniemba, who coordinated the CIC-PPAP team recently for 9-day visit into the mountains of 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.
Coffee remains the main source of income for the people. But because of air freight costs 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.