ROBUSTA coffee produced in the lowland volcanic rich soil of the East New Britain has distinct cup characteristics from that produced in other parts of Papua New Guinea, The National reports.
Senior quality control officer of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Ltd based in the Lae export office, Rose Romalus revealed this when speaking to ENB coffee corporative executives and CIC staff in Buana in the Toma local level government (LLG) recently.
"Any ordinary coffee drinker can tell a big difference between the Robusta coffee produced in ENB and Robusta coffee from other areas of PNG," Romalus said.
She said the ENB Robusta coffee had higher cup characteristics, and could fetch higher prices in the world market.
Chairman of the East New Britain Coffee Growers Cooperative Association (ENBCGCA) Chris Malaibe and ENB smallholder coffee growers association chairman John Kapia Waratopo expressed that more coffee training and awareness programmes were needed in the province to complement the increasing interest among the local farmers to venture into cultivating coffee as an alternative cash crop apart from cocoa and coconut.
They said the farmers needed more training to manage their coffee gardens well and produce quality coffee.
Malaibe said some farmers were planting both Arabica and Robusta in one garden which posed the possibility of mixing the two varieties while processing them, as such mixing of coffee would degrade the cup quality of a specific variety.
CIC is promoting ENB, New Ireland, Milne Bay, East and West Sepik, Madang, Gulf and Oro as new growth areas for coffee extension programmes to contribute to the overall coffee production in PNG.
According to the ENB technical officer Jacob Morre, a total of 6,000 growers with more than two million coffee trees (both Robusta and Arabica) were recorded in the four districts of Gazelle, Kokopo, Pomio and Rabaul last year.