PNG Post-Courier Online
7th August 2005

EU gives to coffee industry

THE coffee industry received a much needed boost with the allocation of K2.6 million from the European Union to fund the grower marketing project.
The project, which has already started, aims to improve the living standards of small-holder coffee growers and to maximise financial returns through the production and supply of high quality green beans or exportable coffee to exporters.
The donor agencies — including EU, AusAID and Japanese International Co-operation Agency — have been supportive in funding certain projects in the Coffee Industry Corporation following its structural reforms to be cost-effective and transparent in its operations to best serve the farmers in the country.
The grower marketing project will be managed by Stret Pasin Kopi Association Inc (SPKA), a not-for-profit organisation which is a separate legal entity from the Coffee Industry Corporation. The SPKA would have membership of grower co-operatives.
The role of SPKA will be to facilitate grower mobilisation and registration, conduct training and capacity building in areas of coffee husbandry, quality control and improvement, co-operative leadership and management; marketing; financial management; personal viability and pulper maintenance.
The association will also facilitate processing and quality control, marketing, conduct overseas promotions on project coffees and audit co-operative books from time to time.
Project manager Tiri Kuimbakul said growers showed interest in processing and marketing at the national coffee workshop in 2002. He said growers had mobilised but lacked capital and expertise to establish processing mills or engage in marketing.
Mr Kuimbakul said growers also need cash due to the rising cost of basic goods, education, health and transport.
The CIC eight point plan has shifted focus to farmers’ demands.
The project also compliments the National Government’s policy on medium term development strategy which calls for empowerment of rural people and poverty alleviation through cooperative marketing.
Mr Kuimbakul said world market developments pointed to co-operative or collaborative marketing being essential to maximising returns to producers.