Opportunities, challenges and how to increase quantity of coffee produced in PNG

Coffee is one of the most important cash crops that contribute to Papua New Guinea (PNG) economy. A decrease in the quantity of coffee produced in the country corresponds to a loss in government revenue and income of coffee growers.

The National Research Institute (NRI) Discussion Paper No.202: “Determinants of coffee production in major coffee-producing provinces of Papua New Guinea: Challenges and opportunities” by Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo, Deputy Director for Research at PNG NRI and Professor Carolyn A. Afolami of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria highlight opportunities and challenges associated with coffee production in three major coffee-producing provinces (Eastern Highlands, Morobe and Western Highlands) as well as strategies that can be used to increase the quantity of coffee produced.

The authors found that the opportunities for coffee production in PNG include the following:

  • Suitable environmental and climatic conditions for growing Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee respectively.
  • Several abandoned coffee plantations that can be revitalised to increase the total coffee production in the country.
  • Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), which is a specialised agency that focuses primarily on coffee including advice on market prices and providing extension services to coffee growers
  • Two universities (University of Environment and Natural Resources and University of Technology) that can provide skilled labour for coffee production.
  • PNG has a standalone Minister for Coffee, which shows Government of PNG’s interest in boosting coffee production in the country.

Key challenges faced by coffee growers include the following:

  • Coffee leaf rust disease, which affects coffee leaves and in turn reduce the yield of coffee.
  • Coffee berry borer, which is a key pest affecting coffee production that often reduces the quality of their coffee.
  • Poor access to extension services as reported by most of the coffee growers interviewed in that extension officers rarely visit them.
  • Poor access to market as a result of poor transport facilities, especially poor road conditions.
  • Poor access to water for processing coffee and shortages of labour for harvesting coffee.

Using modelling approach, the authors found that the quantity of coffee can be increased by:

  • Increasing the scale of coffee production by expanding the size of coffee plot cultivated.
  • Using hired labour in coffee production.
  • Implementating development projects such as Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP).
  • Planting more Arabica coffee in the Highlands region.
  • Training coffee growers on modern coffee production techniques.
  • Providing coffee growers opportunities to access education.
  • Encouraging coffee growers to join a coffee cooperative.

The Report was launched today by Dr Mathew Landu, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Goroka at the Unigor Conference Room, University of Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.

The Publication and Media Release can be accessed on the PNG NRI website https://www.pngnri.org.

Authorised for release by:

Dr. Osborne O. Sanida
Director, PNG NRI

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