TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS CUT PNG COFFEE EARNINGS

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By Peter Korugl

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 12) – Papua New Guinea stands to lose PGK15 million [US$5.2 million] in export earnings from coffee this year, if more than 400 tons of parchment coffee in rural areas is not moved to factories.

The principal of Goroka-based AgroMarketing & Consultants Limited Tiri Kuimbakul said yesterday that at the current price of PGK6 [US$2] per kilogram for green bean, the amount of coffee still lying around in the remote areas would have earned PNG over PGK15 million [US$5.2 million].

"That is a lot of money. Papua New Guinea would have earned if only coffee from the remote areas were moved to the markets," he said.

Kuimbakul further said growers in remote areas would have made K8 million [US$2.7 million] from their coffee had they moved them to the factories.

Kuimbakul’s comment comes after Coffee Industry Corporation sources last month revealed that a lot of quality organic coffee was not moved from remote areas because of the failure of the green revolution exercise involving the use of PNG Defence Force Arava aircraft to move the coffee.

Figures released by the CIC showed Morobe was worst affected with 50,000 bags of coffee still sitting in remote parts of the province while Simbu followed next with 10,000 bags, half of them in Karamui.

There were 8,000 bags of coffee in the Eastern Highlands while Madang, Oro, East Sepik and Sandaun provinces had bags of coffee lying in remote villages.

The Government, under its green revolution policy, implemented the exercise to move coffee from the remote areas. The PNG Defence Force and the CIC are facilitating the program.

As a result of this program, PNG coffee export rose to K1.3 million bags last year and this translated to some K470 million in export earnings but this year it was stagnant due to lack of funds.

CIC sources say the coffee season and price last year was good but they expect that to decline by 30 percent this year.

The drop in revenue was expected to be offset by the good price but the industry was not sure if the price would hold out until the end of the next coffee season, they said.

July 13, 2006

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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