Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Coffee cooperatives benefit from international connections


Three highlands-based coffee cooperatives are seeing more benefits through their recent connection with an international coffee association.
Over 1, 000 farmers under the Apo, Angra and Kange(AAK) Coffee Cooperative Societies based in the Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Jiwaka and Western Highlands provinces are getting premium for school fees and are soon to access a housing scheme with the recent purchase of two Lucas sawmills for milling their timbers.
Chairman of Apo Cooperative Society Nicholas Ello (yellow shirt) supervising the unloading of coffee from a Waghi Valley Transport truck coming into Goroka with coffee from the Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Chimbu provinces.-Picture courtesy CIC

These was possible through their recent alliance with the Switzerland- based 4C Association with assistance from Nestle and VolCafé, parent company of PNG’s top coffee exporter, PNG Coffee Exports.
The 4C Association is the platform that brings together stakeholders in the coffee sector to address sustainability issues in a pre-competitive manner.
To date, 250 members worldwide have joined the 4C platform.
Cooperatives coordinator, Brian Kuglame,  said overseas partners were also aiming to introduce more social and economic schemes like central wet coffee mills and assist farmers in marketing and transport.
“We see that the social and economic plans of our international partners are viable to assist our farmers’ local needs and it is a good opportunity that the farmers will not let go,” he said.
Kuglame said the cooperatives were a role model for other farmer-based coffee cooperatives to link up with the Coffee Industry Corporation(CIC) Ltd and other coffee companies and organisations to access available services and opportunities.
He said all credit for the success of the AAK Cooperatives should go to CIC for successfully implementing the CIC Eight Point Plan introduced in 2002 on grower-owned marketing.
“CIC grower-owned marketing policy is a practical programme to empower and benefit disadvantaged farmers and AAK Cooperatives has made it a reality to showcase that grower mobilisation is the way forward,” Kuglame said.
Through the Eight Point Plan, the CIC is promoting such grower-owned group marketing to achieve higher coffee quality, volume, income and other related incentives including addressing labor issues.

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