By Augustine Dominic
Morobe has beaten Simbu province to become the third highest coffee producing province in the country, according to the 2011 coffee production figures compiled by the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).
CIC Chief Executive Officer Navi Anis revealed that Morobe’s coffee production made a historical record of 91, 051 while Simbu fell short slightly at 71, 174 bags. Mr Anis however said that production figure for Simbu province may not reflect its true status, as coffee from Simbu are usually brought down to be sold in Goroka and therefore could be recorded under production figures for the Eastern Highlands Province (EHP).
EHP led production with 695, 312 bags while Western Highlands with 543, 893 bags. The figures are usually collected and compiled by CIC through copies of sales dockets provided by coffee companies operating in each province.
An elated Morobe-based CIC’s Provincial Farmer Training & Extension Coordinator, Simon Gesip, expressed great delight of the news and praised the efforts of networking partners in the province including the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Bris Kanda, Mainland Holdings’ Coffee Division, Morobe Provincial Government’s Support Services Contract Facility, all district-based Divisions of Agriculture and Livestock officers and coffee farmers for their dedication and hard work. He said the achievement was through committed partnerships among these organisations. Another factor for the high production was the determination of humble Morobe farmers to sell their coffee in the high value international coffee markets, said Mr Gesip.
Two advanced groups are the Neknasi Coffee Growers Corporative Group from Nawaeb District and the YUS Conservation Coffee from the remote Kabwum District. They have connected with Fairtrade (Australia & New Zealand) and America-based coffee company, Caffe’ Vita respectively.
Other coffee farmer groups in Finschaffen, Wau/Bulolo, Menyamya and Tewae/Siassi are preparing to follow suit.
According to a resent socio-economic survey done by the National Research Institute (NRI), food crop is the leading agricultural produce in the province, followed by betel nut and coffee.