The challenges must be addressed to move the country’s coffee industry forward into the future.
The National Research Institute (NRI) Spotlight Volume 16, Issue 9: “Prospects of coffee production and initiatives for addressing challenges faced by coffee growers in Papua New Guinea” by Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo, the Deputy Director for Research at the PNG NRI highlights the opportunity for coffee production in PNG, challenges that coffee growers in Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and Morobe Provinces face and some potential ways to address the challenges.
According to Professor Ezebilo, some opportunities for coffee production in PNG include:
- Suitable environmental and climatic conditions for growing different types of commercial coffee varieties.
- Presence of abandoned coffee plantations that can be revitalised to increase the total production.
- Availability of an agency (Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC)) that provides advice on coffee production.
Professor Ezebilo reported that the key challenges that coffee growers face are:
- Coffee leaf disease that affects coffee leaves, which reduces coffee yield.
- Coffee berry borer, which that lowers the quality of coffee produced.
- Poor access to extension services especially to small-coffee growers.
- Poor road conditions that restricts coffee growers from accessing markets.
- Shortages of labour for harvesting and processing of coffee, which results in high labour cost.
Professor Ezebilo said that challenges faced by coffee growers can be addressed by the following:
- Drawing lessons from other coffee-producing countries such as Columbia that have successfully managed the problems of coffee leaf rust and coffee berry borer.
- Conduct an assessment on how to improve the effectiveness of CIC extension services.
- Coffee growers should be encouraged to join or establish cooperatives and participate actively.
- Government at all levels should make rural areas more attractive by providing basic facilities such as water, electricity and good road networks.
- Government should provide strong “political will” in coffee production through the Ministry of Coffee.
The Publication can be accessed on the PNG NRI website https://www.pngnri.org.