Papua New Guinea: Coffee farmers face challenges, as demand for crop continues


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Elimbari is one of Kongo Coffee's  special reserve coffees. Kongo is one of the country’s three largest exporters in Papua New Guinea.

Goroka is the provincial capital in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, and home to extensive networks of smallholder coffee producers.  PNG’s fertile lands produce a broad range of tropical and temperate crops, and the 85 percent or more of the population who live in rural areas combine household food production with cash crops. Cash is needed to pay school fees for kids, pay for transport to health posts and then meet doctor and medicine charges. Cash also has become critical for many non-market exchanges such as bride prices, funeral and compensation payments, and other social obligations. While the performance of food crops has been good and has kept pace with population growth, PNG’s main cash crops, including coffee and cocoa, has been below potential.

Coffee production is the backbone of the rural economy in the Highlands; across the nation, approximately 2-2.5 million of PNG’s 6 million people depend on coffee production for cash needs. Almost all coffee produced in PNG is arabica, and exporters see a sustained demand for PNG coffee with markets able to absorb a doubling of high-quality premium smallholder product. The challenge for PNG coffee growers is to produce consistently the quantity and quality required by those markets.

About 85 percent is produced by smallholders and productivity is low, for two main reasons:

  1. The lack of tailored extension packages including adequate replanting strategies (most of the trees are over 40 year old).
  2. Constraints to market access reduce farm-gate prices and smallholders’ incentives to invest.

Links in the supply chain are defined primarily by exporter-processors, and lessons from research and past coffee programs show us that improving productivity and quality requires the close involvement of commercial operators.

Coffee production is the backbone of the rural economy in the Eastern Highlands mountain range of Papua New Guinea.

In my first trip outside of capital city Port Moresby after my arrival here in April, I visited Kongo Coffee, one of the country’s three largest exporters. Managed by a native Highlander and grown from a small effort gathering and selling coffee from his ancestral community-held land, Kongo works with small farmers to improve their techniques. Despite considerable attention to improved coffee quality in recent years there is little evidence that government attempts to improve smallholder processing have been effective, most importantly because individual households do not receive appropriate price signals for their efforts to improve their processing and post-harvest handling techniques. Kongo changed that, by publicly signaling the price differential for the better quality product and communicating clear information about what to do to get that price. This means that even on PNG’s aging tree stock, some of Kongo’s family suppliers deliver the premium quality arabica that earns the highest export prices to Japan, Europe, USA ... and approx 70 percent of the shipping cost comes back to the smallholder farming families.

A World Bank project under preparation, called Productive Partnerships in Agriculture, will target improved smallholder productivity, hoping to get an additional 25,000 households (30,000 in total) registered as producers of certified coffees by the end of the project’s sixth year, while pushing the proportion of  exported as certified from 4 percent now to 13 percent.

Not all exporters see a need to devote extensive resources to improve smallholder coffee quality. Kongo’s owner said it was easy for him to invest the time and ‘risk’ in offering extension advice and price premiums to smallholders because, “it only represents maybe 3 percent of my total business, so if it fails entirely it’s okay.” Some industry leaders argue that the emphasis should be on raising the volume of coffee produced, but it is clear that a large proportion of smallholder coffee is sorted and graded up by processors and exporters and achieves considerable premiums. Any improvement in quality that can improve quality, they say, will have a big impact on the value of PNG’s coffee production. 

Elimbari is named after the cliff-massif that dominates the Goroka Valley.


Laura Bailey

Former Global Lead for Stability, Peace and Security, Lead Social Development Specialist

Join the Conversation

Sam Lahis
September 07, 2009

Mt. Elimbari is actually located in neighbouring Simbu Province where Kongo Coffee is established. Elimbari Coffee is one of Kongo's products. Your caption in the photo would be better appreciated if it said the Simbu landscape (and possibly the Goroka Valley), but not the Goroka Valley. The Simbu people and I'm sure Kongo Coffee would prefer that!

Thanks Laura for this piece..

November 12, 2009

the limestone mass of Mt Elimbari (sitting in teh Chuave District of Simbu - or Chimbu Province) overlooks the Mai valley, and then down into the lower Asaro and Wahgi valleys, rather than the Goroka basin...Goroka is further up the Asaro valley...(the Wahgi then becomes the Tua and ultimately the Purari river)

Kongo Mam Yarl
January 27, 2010

There were speculations going around in the last few months that there is a surveys being done at Goiri at the foot of Mt Elimbari to establish a Limestone Minning. I am wondering - as to what will be produced out of that Limestone?

Landowner in Exile.

Kongo Mam Yarl

Albert K. Tobby
March 01, 2010

Laura Bailey
As the Head of World Bank in PNG, it is very interesting to note your piece
on Coffee in PNG particularly in the Highlands. This is one sector of PNG's
economy that supported the heavily populated region of the country as you've
correctly stated. Poverty in the country is also rural, which majority are
from the Highlands region. However it is an irony to see WB sidelining that
very industry which has the potential to alleviate rural poverty in PNG by
funding the oil palm industry in its (WB) Smallholder Agriculture Development
Project in PNG.
Oil Palm industry is well established and properly regulated in only few
coastal Provinces (WNBP & Oro). For WB to choose oil palm instead of coffee
is to me WB is choosing the easy and lazy way out instead of the challenging
one which will require much work. However the outcome will be rewarding if
the project succeeds.
As a Papua New Guinean, my appeal to WB Country Director to consider an
alternative project like the oil palm project for the coffee industry in the
Highlands of PNG.

Laura Bailey
March 01, 2010

Hi Albert - sorry for the delay in responding to your very important post; I was in East New Britain which is one of the provinces where the World Bank's new project supporting COFFEE and COCOA smallholders is going to be launched. I totally agree with you that improving rural incomes from coffee is one important way the World Bank can help the people of PNG, and that's exactly why our Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) will focus on coffee (the other key crop will be cocoa, which of course is also important for poor rural families AND is currently threatened by the cocoa pod borer pest.) So hopefully you'll be pleased to hear that indeed the World Bank is supporting a new project focusing on COFFEE, to begin later this year once approved by GoPNG.

On oil palm, it is very interesting to hear your views; it seems you and I have different perspectives ... I agree that plantation oil palm is well-established in PNG but my team feels strongly that smallholders who grow oil palm in Oro and WNB are not getting as much value and income as they could - their lives are still quite difficult. That's why our SADP efforts focus on smallholders, to help them get better road access, fairer pricing systems, and overall improved living conditions.
I am really glad to see people like yourself interested in the World Bank's work in PNG. Thanks for writing.

David Twine
April 07, 2010

In the early nineties, I was a team member on the AusAID "Coffee rust Project"project which both established the Coffee Industry Corporation and sought to eradicate coffee rust in the trees. A major part of the project involved establishing an extension service in all coffee growing areas of Papua New Guinea. The factors contributing to improved grades were widely recognized especially the importance of women in tree husbandry. From the comments in this areticle the extension service obviously lapsed with the passage of time.

Laura E. Bailey
April 11, 2010

Hi David, thanks for your comment. I'm a newcomer to PNG, so I can't speak from firsthand knowledge, but most of the knowledgable observers I speak to ... farmers, exporters, academics, industryn people, even government itself ... all acknolwedge that the 1990s, and especially the last half of that decade, saw a serious erosion in the ability of national Government and its agencies to maintain high quality regular servies to rural areas, and ag extension was hit as hard as any. I think that in many ways the priority for development partners like the World Bank is too revive the positive practices that had proven results in the past, adding any new appropriate technology or improved practice that we can offer, and support the effective use of idigenous knowledge that rural communities hold already. I suspect that the farmers who worked with you in your project in the nineties remember important elements of the coffee growing practices that were undertaken in the project; that knowledge isn't lost, but clearly farmers are keen to see a higher level of engagement from their Government to revive the industry.

May 05, 2010

Dear Laura,

I must side with Albert regarding palm oil.

The economic benefits from palm oil are substantial. The cash incomes in WNB and Oro from palm oil since the 1990s have been substainatially higher than other crops.

Similarly, the cumulative increase in houshold incomes for palm oil cultivation since the mid-1990s has been much greater than for coffee and cocoa.

Granted, these farmers have seen incomes shrink because of the global financial crisis, but the fact remains that they are substantially better off than they were 10 or 15 years ago.

Palm oil has made a significant difference to smallholder livelihoods in rural areas in Indonesia, particularly in Borneo. I am of the opinion that it can do the same in Papua New Guinea without the climate risks associated with peatland conversion.

I also understand that there is a political risk for the Bank given current levels of activism against palm oil in South-East Asia and its association with poor environmental practices. Is this current political environment shaping the Bank's approach to its programs? I have noted that the GEF has funded a program to assist palm oil smallholders obtain sustainability certification in East New Britain.

I look forward to your response.



Laura E. Bailey
May 05, 2010

Thanks to KTM for the thoughtful comments.

I don't want to get into a debate about the relative income increases from palm oil vs other crops. partly because the official data available are very unreliable, but mostly because there are other dimensions that we at the World Bank take into account when we work with national authorities to determine where and how to engage to support improved lives for the people.

We look not just at national averages and theoretical financial returns in terms of income changes attributed to a particular crop, but ALSO at the extent to which economic growth and development is inclusive, benefiting people widely, and we also look at the extent to which the development path seems to be resilient, and able to withstand difficult times.

From that perspective, we believe that it makes sense for the World Bank to be working in all three crops ... oilpalm, through the Smallholder Ag Devt Project (SADP), and coffee and cocoa, through the newly-approved Productive Partnership in Ag Project (PPAP). We hope to help smallholders who aren't getting good returns in a nationally profitable sector do better (oilpalm) AND to help smallholders who can have a diversified production base that includes other cash crops (cocoa, coffee) earn better returns through improved practices and better market access.

Your question about political risk is a good one as well. The World Bank is dedicated to being a non-partisan, non-poitical partner with the people and Governments in the countries we work with, but certainly we are affected by -- and must be mindful of -- the global and regional debates. Over the past 20 years we've seen a significant increase in attention to einvironmental and social issues within development projects worldwide, and this is an active and welcome dynamic in Bank projects too. Certainly everything we're currently doing with the SADP proejct is focusing on improving smallholder livelihoods while STILL being mindful of environmental and social risks. We're trying to respond as proactively as possible to any concerns that are raised, and we'll continue to be responsive.

Separately from our project-specific work with smallholders in Oro and WNB, the World Bank Group has started the consultative phase of a process led by IFC to develop a WBG Palm Oil Strategy. This process seeks multiple stakeholders’ input into developing a framework and a set of principles to guide World Bank Group’s future engagement in the palm oil sector. For more information on the palm oil strategy development process -- which included key activities in DC in April during the Spring Meetings -- please visit the dedicated web site:

Kana Buut
October 07, 2010

Hi Laura, I am actually happy at the recent initiatives by the World Bank on this partnership in Agriculture project.have read briefly some aspects of it and would like to raise some issues. PNG has had some good initiatives in the past with the intention to boost coffee production and the relative effects on the livelyhood of our subsistence farmers, NPMA (National Plantation Management Agency) was one such initiative, and I remember those glory days when plantations and big coffee blocks was poping up everywhere, there was real activity and strong sense of hope was emerging however a few years down the track and that has all gone to extinct ...synonimous with the PNG way of doing things...short term measures, knee jerk reactions and nothing sustainable....well Lauara what is being done now by WB under this new project hopefully will not go down the same can avoid it if we do this ...focus on the one motivating factor...addressing the price factor! .Nothing will work unless the market is addressed and you know from your research all major exporters and processors and operators in kofi in PNG just dont care about investing in rehab work or educating growers about the importance of quality kofi. It is quantity... and CIC just doesnt seem to get it right..they are all about quantity...but the truth is...if we can get it right with the price, the quantity will come, people will return to their coffee...much effort must be made to educate the growers about the relations between quality and see the irony of all these is....for over 40 years, we the growers do not know how our coffee tastes despite producing over a million bags each year?? now dont you think something is missing?/ Sadly the growers know, everyone is out there to cheat them, the roadside and factory buyers who fix the weighing scales, the exporters who control the prices and CIC who use a totally irrelevant New York Stock Exchange to set the bench price for buying whilst the true price is far far different to what we get at the growers level..we only produce less than 1% of the total world production, why do we use a benchmark which is not related to the reality when most of our kofi is traded as gourmet and specialty kofi....someone ought to tell the truth. the truth is PNG kofi is simply the best single origin kofi in the world however the price offered is unreflective of this so what is the point of pumping money into the government agency when most of these funds will stilll go down the same track, give the money to people with new ideas and bold initiatives to take PNG kofi to a new and greater heights so that our farmers can have real more cheaters!!..WB..give me money to buy small to small scale pulpers, hullers, household roasters and grinders and help me to understand the quality of my coffee and develop my marketing potential...this cannot be a government initiative anymore, it hasn,t worked so let it be an industry initiative but with someone new and unbiased..give the farmers a fair go....get real! something new and exciting is coming and the WB facility can be a boost if invested in the right area...

Laura E. Bailey
October 10, 2010

I really appreciate the time and energy you devoted to your post on the challenges that coffee farmers face. I share your concerns about the capacity of government and industry agencies to effectively meet the world reality and grasp the opportunities that the market offers to PNG's coffee ... but I am more optimistic than you about the possibiity of workign cooperatively with agencies like DAl and CIC to make things better. The World's Bank comparative advantage is in working through governments to improve services and access to markets, in close collaboration with business, citizens, and civl society, and we DO believe we can make a positive difference working through DAL and CIC. Please keep watching the work in the field as the new project unfolds, and I believe you will see a change over the next 4 years!

Laura Bailey
December 01, 2010

I really appreciated the supportive comments from Wilson Orlegge about the need for the World Bank to support coffee farmers, and even more I enjoyed his very specific list of the challenges that the coffee industry faces and his specific suggestions about finding creative ways to involve households in upgrading their smallholder practices - kids and coffee seedlings, agriculture in the classroom.

I've been thinking and chatting with people alot about my feeling that 'the answer' for PNG's coffee farners is a multi-dimensional solution: definitely lots of work on renewing the stock, upgrading and matinaing roads anfor market access, and improved extension and advisory services that are market-driven and useful ... all those things are key, and are part of PPAP.

But there's also this interesting possibility that for some farmners and grower groups, who have the interest and capacity (and support) to improve not just productivity and market connections but want to REALLY take on the Quality Challenge, they might be able to get the kinds of premium prices that other niche coffee growers around the world are getting through certification programs, and through what's now being called 'direct trade'.

I'll blog more on this in the coming weeks, and I'll hope that everyone joins in!

Jacob TARU
March 23, 2016

That exactly is the challenge. Getting quality coffee consistently and a volume also to support a brand of unique coffee we must create. It will work only by growers meeting the buyers so that together they can achieve this sustainable coffee status goal. More investment of WB Loan funds need to cover market development. Papua New Guinea growermmust meet the buyers themselves and develop a relationship so we can work and walk together.

Wilson Thompson Orlegge
December 01, 2010

We support and commend the WB for support to coffee and the Agreement has been signed. What we need now is to move the industry forward by working with and directly with farmers. I noted that some more study and analysis and technical reports will become part of the project.

By now we should have and know what the problems in the industry. It simple:-

1. coffee stock is from the 50-60s and must be stumped or infilled with new trees

2. there is no new large plantings since the 1970' and 80's under Business Groups, 20 hectare blocks and NPMA days.

3. production has shifted (80 percent) from plantations to smallholders

4. run down plantations and coffee blocks on State Lease land had mortgage problems and how do we utilise these trees standing and the land to bring these into production.

5. Extension, advisory services is non existent or minimal

6. some attribute crops decline to transport woes, but what about rehabilitating and working with those alraedy within 20 kilometre corridor of say Okuk Highway and 10 km corridor of say sealed roads such as LUfa Okapa road. Others will move in once services flow from centre.

We need more nursery and seedlings to be distributed to school children and to remove old stock and incraese more acreage and then coffee production will increase in real tonnage and not in income as it is based on increased world market prices.

Wilson Thomspon
HIghlands Farmers & Settlers Association Inc.

July 22, 2011

Dear Laura
Rehabilation of coffee garden is never a solution to improving coffee production.CIC did that many times in the past including the recent rehabiliation program between 2007-2009, and what happened, people got away with the tools and the program failed terribly.Now the WB cannot be ill adviced to repeat the same.It never increased the production.You cannot drive the production directly by rehabilation.It has to be driven , but how? Very simply , 2 things: IMPROVING CONSISTENCY IN COFFEE QUALITY and IMPROVED MARKET ACCESS. These are the enabling enviornment for Growth.It affects PRICE directly and its the Price the farmers are after.Give farmers a prolong period of high coffee price and you will certainly notice an increase in rehabiliation actvities, new development, marketing groups, etc which leads to increase in coffee production and improved livelyhood..Now who is going to create the environement.Foremost , the PNG government, unfortunately , its focus is now on LNG and mineral boom and not on Agriculture and coffee.PNG has the best organically grown coffee in the world, and theres no doubt about that.Thats the strenght.We start there.Lets fund programs to improve that quality through small holder coffee wet factories - to improve natually fermentation processes, drying and storage and finally the Market. Now this part is critical- thats where the Middle Man , mostly expartriates are clicking on and telling false stories to WB and others about PNG smallholer coffee being Y-grade -or discounted coffee. There are new wet factory designs that are been tested and has proven that smallholder coffee from remote village say, Okapa, Karamui etc can be processed into A grade top premium coffee capable of fetching high price at any international market.If SIGRI Coffee ( WR carpenters ) can convert smallholder coffee into Top grade coffee through improved wet processing facility, it can be done.Let us concentrate on qulaity improvement and facilitate a world marketing scheme for our local famers to increase quantity. Cheers

Wilson THompson Orlegge
June 15, 2011

Through the WB funded PPAP, there is provision for Organic and other certifications. This has been in recent literature such as Pacific Economic Bulletin and other research mostly by academics in Australia. Having read these, the issue of the cost of certification is very high, especially in US and AUD terms. Most of coffee production in PNG shifted from plantations and estates to smallholder. Even smallholders numbering up to say 200 cannot afford to pay for certification.

Either processors and exporters come in to assist or CIC or the State secure certification for s specific farmers or from certain geographical location or groups and ensure the farmers comply with the certification requirements and go into direct exports.

Thank you.


Laura Bailey
July 26, 2011

Hi Micha - thanks very much for your post.

I agree 110% that with the excitement around the minerals and gas sector the attention is getting taken away from the backbone of PNG's people, which is the rural sector. I have spoken publicly, along with senior government officials and members of the private sector, on the importance of safeguarding the agricultural sector so it doesn't get trampled by the eocnomy dynamics that surround minerals-driven wealth.

I also agree wholeheartedly with you on 1) the importance of investing in higher quality and more consistent production of that higher quality cofee, and 2) the need for investing in better market access including roads.

I do disagree mildly with your pessimism about rehabilitation of coffee gardens; sure, high prices will drive some farmers to rehab and reinvest, but overall the PNG coffee sector has a base of aging trees and outdated practices that could benefit from some improvement.

We hope the Productive Partners in Agriculture Project will help address all these issues.

Please stay tuned!

Governor GG
October 24, 2011

I have an important observation and a suggestion I wish to bring to the WB and GoPNG.

Firstly I am really glad that the World Bank is spending big dollars on small holder coffee farmers. I also commend the GoPNG that has liaised with the WB to secure funding for this development.

I have observed that CIC has not done much about improving small holder coffee growers over the last thirty years. It has concentrated on assisting large plantations and coffee millers a lot more than small holder groweres. This has created a scenario where the small holder grower has slaved away for the coffee millers and exporters to become millionares while the grower continues to live in abject poverty.

My suggestion is for the WB to create an office/es in the Highlands of PNG where the small block holders can access funding direct to improve husbandry and processing, and plant more areas.

The WB needs to by-pass CIC as it is only concerned with the wel- to-do coffee barons. It is not a useful body for small holder growers Even as I write, I know that CIC is planning - infact has already planned to disburse the WB funding through existing millionaires - the least of them being one who turns over K3,000,000 per annum. What millioaire in his right mind will wish to throw his 'free labor force' (small holder growers) away so they come up while he goes down? His coffee supply will dwindle as small time growers become more organized and can export their coffee on their own.

So the millionare miller will be trying his best to keep small holder growers (or his free labourers) in their place and the current WB funding will only benefit the establised coffee barons.

PS. The WB should by now be aware that Government systems set up for the benefit of rural Papua New Guineans do not work - so why throw so many millions to such a 'dog' .

Gov GG coffee planter.

Laura Bailey
November 09, 2011

Thanks so much for your comment, and for your passionate interest in the well-being of smallholder coffee farmers.

The World Bank is committed to improving the economic opportunities for smallholders in Papua New Guinea's rural areas, and we believe that we can help improve institutions like the Coffee Industry Corportation (CIC), which is why they are involved in our Productive Partners in Agriculture Project project (PPAP). I understand your frustration with historical problems, but we believe that it IS possible to help the GoPNG work better and more effectively, and that PPAP can help improve both CIC and the coffee sector in general. I also hear from your comment that you are concerned about allocation of project resources, and I want to assure you that we will be paying very close attention to the project implementation in order to ensure that the rules of oepration as laid down in the project design are followed to maximize impact on small farmers.

Laura Bailey
January 11, 2012

Thanks, Kops, for your very thoughtful post. I agree with you that it's important to take into account impact, sustainability, and both log-and short-term "wins". I can tell from your comments that you care very much about smallholders, and I do to. It's important to note that PPAP is not the only project working in the coffee sector, and there are others who are indeed focusing more directly onthe smallholders as individuals. The World Bank and the GoPNG agencies involved with PPAP are trying to work on the institutional level, not the individual level; we are not asserting that PPAP is the only approach that's viable, we're just saying that it's one important part of the support that's needed. Our experience around the world shows that it IS possible to work with large growers and exporters to deliver changes that BOTH allow them to operate profitably AND improve the income and benefits that flow to smallholders. I don't think that cutting out middlemen is authomatically the right thing to do, but I respect your views. PPAP wants to work with the exporters and large firms to link smallholders to them in a way that is "win-win" for both of those groups.

However, I do need to be up-front with you and say that I don't think that what you call "paperwork consulting" costs are wasted money. Every time someone tells me that terms such as transparency and management capability are "expensive", and tries to convince me that PNG is "too poor to worry about transparency and good quality management", I respond with real passion: "Papua New Guineans deserve to get the best value they can out of programs meant to suport their livelihoods, and without transparency and strong management, PNG loses." Transparency and good management and recordkeeping ensures value-for-money, and Papua New Guineans deserve nothing less. How many projects have you seen fail in PNG because not enough attention was paid to keeping track of how the money gets spent? We're committed to reduce that risk in PPAP.

December 05, 2011

Thank you Laura for your reply to my post.

While I know that there are strict guiselines that the WB sets that all have to follow, I still wish to argue for the sake of argument sake the following point:

Lead partner under PPAP

A lead partner needs to be one that has an earnning of K3,000,000.00 per annum.

I agree that a lead partner has to have capabilities of administration, management, and mobilization. However, I wish to state here that it may be pretty hard to find many coffee barons who honestly have a heart for the small grower and her/his wellbeing. Therefore, CIC and WB need to direct the support money toward small growers with smaller manageble amounts of money at the district levels.

In actual fact I would like to be frank by saying I do not trust the big coffee barons -as in the past they have controlled the coffee prices to suit their profiteering and the smallholder growers have be used as cheap labour.

# The economy grows but the smallholder coffee growers continue to remain poor.

GovGG Smallholder coffee grower

December 08, 2011

Dear Laura

I got to read Kanna Buut's comments above this morning.

Kanna is talking about the same things I have been saying in my contributions.

Please, I appeal to you not to take these concerns as just academic arguments - as so often happens with these things. These are serious issues that need to be addressed honestly if the WB is serious about growing PNG's economy, facilitating gender concerns, and eradicating poverty.

PS - I would not mind presenting a short paper on the smallholder grower's plight if there is a workshop organised in the Highlands.

GovGG Smallholder coffee grower

January 11, 2012

PPAP is a good initiative. However good intentions of the WB and GoPNG funds could fail to sustain or even deliver the desired results because of the following factors:

- A good portion of the funds are consumed on paperwork (consultancy, admin, etc) to keep up with the strict WB requirements. These requirements go as far as the Joint Partners and the Co-Partners. The consultancy costs to put together standard proposals/reports and to generally manage the procurement process will cost the Lead Partners a significant portion of the sub project funds. Of course this is justified by expensive terms such as transparency, management capability, etc....but consider the ratio of paperwork costs to actual project expenditure (actual expenditure on Co Partners). Take into account long term impact, sustainability and short term wins of the project aims.

- Most of the Lead Partners that will qualify for the funds will be the big exporting companies and they will only be interested in maintaining their bottom lines rather than spending an extra penny from their pockets to help the small growers.

- After reading through some of the posts above and from experience, PRICE calls the shots. PPAP project is geared towards mostly rehabilitation but after that, what is the long term plan? After GoPNG and WB spend that much money on rehabilitation, market access and quality, how will most of the rural population have access to direct markets/certification? CIC/PPAP should at least have a fair idea of the current/historical quality of coffee from certain areas and the potential for improving quality in some areas. If not, this needs to be known. Part of this project should focus on sustaining PRICE for the average grade (price subsidy if falls below market rates), assist in establishing direct market access for the top grades and invest in improving potential top grade areas. Once this mechanism is in place, this should be supported on a long term basis. Otherwise, after the project is complete, it will all fall back to ground zero again.

After mentioning the above, how differently would PPAP have channeled the funds to small holders?

* Cut the middle men direct with the small holders. CIC/PPAP should use the funds directly to identify the small holders, work out their current status, help them to improve/increase productivity/quality, assist them to get access to direct market/set price stabilization fund/mechanism and regulate pricing charged by buyers/exporters based on distance/fuel cost and other such factors. This will save a significant portion of cost that will now be wasted on paperwork consulting.

* Set up checks and balances to sustain AND IMPROVE such a mechanism with different stakeholders, both independent affected stakeholders which further IMPROVES the livelihood of small holders (increased output-increased income-improved living standards).


Alex Kerang
January 29, 2012

Another challenge may be to get everyone involved. More often, donor financial and technical assistances are concentrated in the Highlands region, presumably because (i) CIC Headquarter is based in EHP (ii) Goroka (EHP) and Highlands Region are major PNG's Coffee (Arabic) producers and Exporters.

Bailey, its good to hear that you are also conducting your studies in ENB. This region, and other Maritime provinces are also good at cultivating Coffee (Robusta). There is growing interest among the maritime provinces for farmers in the coffee cultivation and production.

Unfortunately the imminent obstacles continue to hamper their progress, which include: (i) lack and or inadequate of support from Agriculture Dept. in recognising the potential of coffee farmers (ii) lack of proper training (ii) basic infrastructure such coffee harvesting and processing facilities, transport etc (ii) No market for robusta Coffee..

Based on some of these issues highlighted, would there be possibility for WB through the PPAP to seriously look at encouraging production of Robusta Coffee and creating market for them,probably through nominated Agents (Exporters).

Generally, Smallholders Coffee (Robusta) should be targeted recipient in the PPAP. I know they have the great potential of contributing towards PNG coffee export in the long run.

Laura Bailey
January 31, 2012

Thanks for your post, Alex.

Since coffee is grown in literally EVERY province of Papua New Guinea, there is great potential to help families and communities all across the country. We're starting with a focused intervention, keeping PPAP centered on just a few high-volume producer provinces, but certainly once we have seen the project implemented for a whiel and have learned our lessons - 'cause you know we all need to learn from experience, no matter how optimistic we are about our projects - we'll be able to assess whether PPAP could have something good to offer to maritime provinces.

Thanks for caring about PNG's rural farmers!


Laura Bailey
December 10, 2013

Answering Ben Temon Jr's questions about PPAP

Ben - thanks alot for reaching out to me with your questions. I absolutley agree - PPAP works ONLY with real farmers!

The PPAP is indeed already active in Western Highlands province; indeed across all four provinces involved in PPAP in phase one (Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Jiwaka)there have been 13 partnerships funded involving 11,589 farmers working on coffee ... of those 13 partnerships, three of them are in Western Highlands. So in reality, there are indeed milliosn of kina flowing to coffee farmers all across the Highlands, including WHP.

The response that you received from the CIC office in Mt Hagen was most likely due to the fact that PPAP has a specific approach to assistance: it does not provide loans, only grants, and it does not fund individual owners or farmers. Instead PPAP funds groups of smallholders (farmers, etc.) who work together with 'lead partners' who are able to assist with delivering the practical aspects (logistics, financial record-keeping, etc.). The CIC offices assist with spreading information and issuing "Calls for Proposals", and then farmers and smallholders, linked up with lead partners (which can be large growers, processors, exporters, etc. ) submit their proposal based on the required format. Each "PPAP Partnership" is transparently competitive, and once a Partnership 'wins', the resources are grants.

For more information, please contact our Senior Officer in Port Moresby, Mr Allan Oliver ([email protected]) and he will connect you to the PPAP team!

Best of luck in growing and selling fabulous WHP coffee!


Ben Temon Jr
February 02, 2014

Thankyou Laura for responding to my questions! I appreciate the information given and will follow up on the contact given!
Kanda Kets ;)

Ben Temon Jr
December 10, 2013

Laura I am a coffee plantation owner in the Western Highlands Province and would like to know how I can benefit from PPAP?
As you understand we the smallholders and plantation owners are unable to access fund from commercial banks or other donor agencies to revive/rehabilitate our coffee blocks/plantations etc and were very happy to hear that the Govt. and WB were introducing the PPAP. But since the launching or implementation of this project we the growers have not seen anything on the ground especially in the WHP! Did we miss out or were we left out as there as been nothing to show for the millions pumped into this project.
I have actually been to the CIC office in Mt Hagen but was told that PPAP was not giving out loans or funding for such projects.
With that said,I am looking at setting up a wet factory in my plantation to proccess my coffee and small holders coffee from the surrounding area/communities to boost quality and income. My question to you,is how can I get assistance from the (PPAP)project in terms of funding and technical support etc?
I think its time we forget the ‘paper farmers‘ and deal directly with the farmers!