ROADSIDE COFFEE BAN IRKS PNG GROWERS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 7, 1999 - The National)---Western Highlands small coffee growers want the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) to tell them who is benefiting from the ban on cherry buying on roadsides.

They say the ban is killing their livelihood and want to know whose interest the CIC is trying to protect.

A spokesman for small holder coffee growers in the Anglimp South Waghi area, David Kiap Nani, said he could not see any logic behind the ban, as most village growers did not have coffee pulpers.

He said unlike wage earners, village people depended heavily on coffee for their daily needs and one way of making quick money was to pick their cherries and sell them on roadsides.

Mr. Nani said the use of police to enforce the ban was an unnecessary drain on the Police Department's limited resources. He called on Police Commissioner Peter Aigilo to order the withdrawal of police from this assignment.

He said he had witnessed police from Kindeng and Kagamuga harassing cherry buyers and sellers and confiscating their cherry coffee.

"These coffee growers have their democratic rights to decide what they want to do with their coffee. If they want to pick their cherries and sell them on the roadsides, that's their wish and no one should stop them," he said.

Mr. Nani said the ban should be lifted, as it served no real purpose.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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