The invitation was given during the National Planning Consultative Summit in Lae on March 20-22, 2018.
The ICC (PPAP coffee Board) Chairman Ian Mopafi says availability of accessible roads have been a main obstacle against efforts to increasing coffee production targets set by the National Government.
“Rural roads in all parts of the country including coffee growing provinces have deteriorated and become impassable making it difficult for 80 percent of between 3 and 4 million growers who are concentrated in the countryside to transport their coffees to the market.”
Rural airstrip have and are also closing down where we have coffee transported by air. A classic example is the recent closing down of Mengino airstrip in Mt. Crater area of Lufa District in Eastern Highlands Province.
“This is the same story in all the places and the main reason to why growers can harvest only few coffees they can shoulder after distributing the loads and walk for hours to the nearest roadside selling spots,” says Mr Mopafi.
Mr Mopafi who is also a coffee buyer and businessman says the consequences is that many growers have neglected their coffee gardens and attend only where there is social or cultural obligations.
“Growers have come to treat coffee as a social tree because they don’t see the economic value in it.”
“This is why I support the Minister Richard Maru for inviting CIC and our coffee component of Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) to submit lists of coffee economic roads for consideration.”
“We can encourage our growers to improve their gardens and to produce better quality coffee but if there is no road and market access facilities, our effort will become meaningless,” adds Mr Mopafi.
The PPAP coffee component has identified six impassable roads as follows: a 74km Tabigua Station – Koinambe Station road (Jimi District, Jiwaka Province), 18km Keu-Elimbari-Siane-Keu ring road (Chuave District, Simbu), 10km Yulip – Maramb and 20km Yulip – Nenembus road (Kompiam District, Enga); 30km Maupini – Wala road (Pangia District, SHP); and a 50km Lufa Station – Unavi via Gouno road (Lufa District, Eastern Highlands).
These roads will connect the hinterlands of some provinces like the 50km Lufa Station – Unavi via Gouno road (Lufa District, Eastern Highlands). This link will service 50,000 plus growers in the Crater Mountain a tri-border area, where the Eastern Highlands, Simbu and Gulf provincial borders meet.
The Crater Mountain area is accessible only by light one-engine Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and Adventist Aviation Services (AAS) planes from the township of Goroka.
The coffee rehabilitation is a PNG Government (Department of Agriculture and Livestock) initiative supported by World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) through loan financing. It is implemented by the Coffee Industry Corporation through a Project Management Unit known as PPAP-Coffee Component.