The remote community came alive on Wednesday 25th September in jubilant traditional colours and singsing groups for the official opening of this facility.
CIC Chief Executive Officer, Charles Dambui, senior managers and technical officers flew into the area on Wednesday to open the facility and talk to the community.
It took almost four months to complete the facility since airfreighting materials into the area in May this year.
Dambui thanked the local community for embracing the project and allowing his technical officers to travel into the area to make initial ground work.
He urged them to take ownership of the project, as CIC will continue to send in officers to check on the progress of this project.
“This facility belongs to you and I urge you to take ownership until such time when results prove that this trial project is commercially viable to continue.”
He said the CIC Freight Subsidy Scheme (FSS) concentrated on airfreighting parchment coffee out from such areas, however CIC is taking one step further to trial out airfreighting of green bean coffee.
Dambui said about 15-20 percent of the coffee airfreighted contains the hull and it is uneconomical to pay the freight cost to move this rubbish out to the market.
He said remote farmers would be able to sell in green bean price and reduce market transaction costs.
Community representative Balau Peter thanked CIC for bringing something new into his area and asked for further support in terms of moving coffee out.
He said the community burnt 200 bags of parchment coffee in 2009 and does not want the same to happen and called for government support.
Local woman leader Helen Genai, who has been the voice and hope for the people there, said 13 council wards in the area would benefit from this project. She thanked the government through CIC for supporting them since 2014, however, more needs to be done to move coffee out. She said for this year, they have not moved any coffee bags out due to nil support to charter third-level airlines to go into the area.
Dambui said this is a pilot project and its success in Negabo will determine the continuity into other rural airstrips.
Other locations include Simbai and Rai Coast in Madang, Agaun in Milne Bay, Goilala in Central, Yalumet in Morobe and Boiko in Eastern Highlands.
The mini-huller project comes together with a coffee storage shed under the FSS program funded by GoPNG through the PIP (Public Investment Program).
Meanwhile, CIC announced at the launching to supply 50 coffee pulpers to farmers in Negabo.