“We work and live in towns and cities, enjoying the benefits and we forget altogether the struggles our rural people face that we came out from,” said Potaisa Hombunaka, manager of World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) financed coffee rehabilitation program in the country.
In saying that, Hombunaka thanked Edric Famundi and Olive Kludapalo for returning to help their people in Lufa.
“It is only right to do that,” Hombunaka said when congratulating the two elites from Rapiva village who initiated the formation of Huwa Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd.
On November 22nd, close to a thousand growers and their families gathered at Lufa station to officially launch their group.
The coffee manager adds: “You coffee growers are my boss. Because of your coffee I have a job. The job title I have is to serve you. I’m your servant because you are my pay masters and mistresses.”
Hombunaka urged all young educated citizens to think alike and return to the villages to organise simple people to take advantage of group marketing benefits like in coffee and other commodities.
Huwa in the local dialect means Lufa. The aim of forming Huwa coffee cooperative was to mobilise marketing of their organic coffee for a better return.
“Our people have been planting and selling coffee cherries and parchment for years but have been living in the same old kunai huts,” Famundi, who works as a consultant with the PPAP coffee program, said.
“Basically they have been feeding the middle people with very little changes to their wellbeing. We can’t do the same things and live the same way. This is insane.
“This is why the people of Lufa District decided to organise under a group to produce quality coffee to export directly overseas for a better price.”
The other purpose is to organise the people under a group for government agencies and partners to collaborate with to deliver rural services.
The latter is of immediate concern, particularly with the absence of district officials who are operating outside from Goroka for close to 20 years now despite having the best modern office facilities at the station, compared to other districts in the country.
Some highlights of speeches given by different leaders were as follows:
- Leadership must know their purpose; to service simple growers and politics should not interfere in the running of the society.
- Growers must support the leadership with no back chatting or “tok baksait”.
- Growers have a responsibility to work their gardens to produce quality coffee to meet specialty coffee market requirements and standards.
- The cooperative is for all growers in Lufa District to supply the demand required by the international market.
Governor Peter Numu was not able to attend but committed K5,000 to the growers’ group.
Youth leader Martin Tony gave K200 to the society on behalf of the youths. He urged every young man and woman in the district to stop indulging in drugs, homebrew and card games. Instead, he encouraged them to concentrate on coffee production, processing and marketing.
“There is no free hand out. We must work together by supporting our elders and parents to plant more coffee to help ourselves and our children in the future,” said Tony.
(The brains behind the formation of Huwa Coffee Cooperative Society Ltd, Edric Famundi and Olive Kludapalo, standing at the back, of Rapiva Village being welcomed during the official launching ceremony at Lufa Station)