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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Mar 23) – Organic coffee growers in remote Southern Highlands areas can now export their produce direct to the world market.

This follows a coffee purchase, processing, exporting and marketing licence signed in Canada yesterday between growers’ representative Benias Peri and Sigurdur Nordal of Resources Ltd, a Papua New Guinean company owned by Canadian and European interests.

Under the agreement, the company will buy 100 tonnes of parchment coffee a month direct from the farmers.

Mr Peri said in a statement from Canada the agreement would benefit organic coffee growers from the Hela region, Pangia, Kagua and Mendi districts.

Mr Peri said some least-developed areas in the country like Okapa and Obura Waninara in Eastern Highlands and Kaintiba and Menyamya in Gulf and Morobe provinces were covered too.

"This agreement is a milestone for Papua New Guinea and I urge farmers in Koroba-Kopiago, Tari-Pori, Komo-Margarima, Pangia, Kagua, Mendi and Nipa to go back to the land and start pruning old trees and planting new ones.

"Coffee is the only crop that will enhance our standard of living in the long run," Mr Peri, who expressed satisfaction for the deal, said from Canada yesterday.

Mr Peri and Mr Nordal worked on this project for the last 12 months.

Mr Peri said coffee growers in Southern Highlands would benefit greatly from this deal.

Mr Nordal said the agreement included the purchase of parchment coffee as well as construction of a green bean processing and a packing plant in Lae.

"We have secured markets and will continue our work to secure more for premium organic coffee, particularly in Europe," Mr Nordal said.

The company will rehabilitate run-down plantations in partnership with the landowners like Auwata in Lake Kopiago, Fugwa in Koroba and Tigibi in Komo-Margarima.

The agreement also stated that new plantations will be developed in Lake Kopiago and Awi Logaiyu, Huluma in Komo Margarima district, Guala and Mbuli in Koroba district and in parts of Pangia and Mendi.

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