A revived PNG Coffee Journal

R.W. Sengere and G.N. Curry

PNG’s Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd has recently recommenced the publication of the PNG Coffee Journal, after a break of ten years. The recently published special issue, Vol 15(1), is the first of two comprising research papers based largely on collaborative ACIAR-funded research projects among CIC, Curtin University and CSIRO (ASEM/2008/036 and ASEM/2016/100). The papers are the culmination of a series of research skills workshops led by senior Australian and PNG ACIAR team members.

This special issue contains three papers originating from a recently concluded ACIAR project (ASEM/2008/036); two papers by CIC officers based on their postgraduate research through Australian universities; and a concluding paper provides an industry perspective on the research.

The first paper in this issue investigates the main livelihood activities pursued by smallholder coffee farmers in Eastern Highlands Province (EHP), and how the interactions between different livelihood activities influence farmer-decision making. The paper argues that being aware of the factors influencing farmer decision-making is critical to providing extension advice and training that fits with the everyday lives and challenges faced by smallholder farming families. This paper provides the context for the second paper which probes the socio-economic constraints on smallholder coffee production in the highlands of PNG. This paper focuses on household labour as farmers juggle various livelihood activities that can lead to reduced labour inputs in coffee production as a consequence. As livelihood opportunities like large-scale vegetable production for urban markets arise in rural areas close to town, the supply of women’s labour for coffee can become scarce as they switch to these new livelihoods.

The third paper examines smallholder coffee farmers’ levels of knowledge of coffee pests and diseases at four different sites in EHP. The paper shows that smallholders’ knowledge of methods of cultural control of pests and diseases is very low. This does not bode well for control of the recently arrived pest, Coffee Berry Borer, which poses such a threat to the highlands coffee industry.

The fourth paper identifies and quantifies the movement of nutrients into and out of food gardens in EHP and interprets the net effects of these nutrient movements on soil fertility. Crop harvesting and preparation produces residues or wastes that might be better managed to retain nutrients in the gardens and maintain soil fertility.

The fifth paper analyses the extension approaches employed in the coffee industry and its evolvement over the years since large-scale production began in the 1950s in Papua New Guinea. A variety of extension approaches have been tried which have had limited success with no significant improvement to the industry. This study establishes that the entry points for extension services are grower groups and value chain partnerships (also see Sengere et al. 2019)

The final concluding paper by Mr Joeri Kalwij of New Guinea Highlands Coffee Exports (NGHCE) provides an industry perspective on the research. The private sector is critical to the development and sustainability of the PNG coffee sector, and CIC’s New Coffee Plans 2020-2030 seek to strengthen links with industry, and for CIC to adopt a more facilitative role. Involving the private sector in CIC research and extension makes good sense given their central role, and the collaboration with NGHCE is a step in this direction.

The research papers in this issue were based on a large ACIAR project in which many people were involved including researchers and staff from CIC, NARI, Curtin University, CSIRO and ACIAR, key people from within the coffee industry in PNG, and not least the smallholder farming families with whom we worked. These contributions are acknowledged in the introductory paper. We gratefully acknowledge funding support from ACIAR.

Papua New Guinea Coffee Journal, Volume 15 (1)

Sengere, R.W. & Curry, G.N. (2021). Introduction. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 1-2. (Introduction to a special issue of the PNG Coffee Journal).

Koczberski, G., Inu, S.M., Curry, G.N., Bekio, J. & Hamago, H. (2021). Coffee smallholder households and livelihoods diversity. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 3-13.

Curry, G.N., Koczberski, G., Inu, S.M. & Hamago, M., Kiup, E., Aranka, J., Bekio, J., Apis, B. & Togonave, P. (2021).  Socio-economic constraints on smallholder coffee production in the Papua New Guinea highlands: the case of labour. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 14-22.

Aranka, J., Apis, B., Asiota, B., Bafeo, M., Bekio, J., Curry, G.N., Hamago, M., Inu, S.M., Kiup, E., Koczberski, G., Togonave, P. & Webb, M. (2021).  Smallholder Farmers’ Knowledge of Coffee Pests and Diseases in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 23-29.

Kiup, E., Webb. M.J., Placzek, C.J. & Nelson, P.N. (2021). Managing nutrient stocks and movement in smallholder gardens in Bena, Papua New Guinea. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 30-38.

Sengere, R.W., Curry, G.N., Koczberski, G. & Labun, M. (2021). Market-driven Extension Services: targeted interventions to increase coffee productivity and improve quality among PNG smallholder farmers. PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 39-48.

Kalwij, J. (2021). Areflection on the Papua New Guinea coffee industry: facing reality.  PNG Coffee Journal 15(1), 49-53.