Robusta coffee from the volcanic-rich lowland soil of the East New Britain (ENB) province has distinct cup characteristics than those from other areas of PNG.
“Any ordinary coffee drinker can tell the difference between the Robusta coffee produced in ENB and those from other areas,” said Rose Romalus, Senior Quality Control Officer of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Limited’s Export Office in Lae, Morobe province.
Mrs Romalus said the ENB Robusta coffee has higher cup characteristics and can fetch higher prices in the world market. She revealed this when speaking to ENB Coffee Corporative Executives and CIC staff in Boana, Toma LLG, recently.
However, more training and awareness programs are need to complement the increasing interest of the ENB farmers to venture into cultivating coffee as an alternative cash crop from cocoa and coconuts, according to Chairman of the East New Britain Coffee Growers Cooperative Association, Chris Malaibe, and Chairman of ENB Smallholder Coffee Growers Association, John Kapia Waratopo.
They revealed that farmers need more training to properly manage their coffee gardens and produce quality coffee for the market. Mr Malaibe said some farmers are planting both Arabica and Robusta coffee in the same blocks with likelihoods of mixing the two varieties during processing and such mixed coffee would possibly degrade the cup quality of a specific coffee variety.
CIC is promoting ENB, New Ireland, Milne Bay, East and West Sepik, Madang, Gulf and Oro provinces as new growth areas for coffee extension programs to contribute to the overall increased production of PNG coffee.
According to the ENB Provincial Technical Officer, Jacob Morre, a total of 6000 growers with over two million coffee trees (both Robusta and Arabica) were recorded in the four districts of ENB – Gazelle, Kokopo, Pomio and Rabaul – in 2010.
Source: PNG CIC Limited