Linking PNG Organic Coffee Growers to the World Organic and Specialty Coffee Exporters - Papua New Guinea

Organic Fairtrade Coffee

Accessing the Coffee Growers

PNG Organic Fairtrade Coffee

PUROSA COFFEE Papua New Guinea Certified organic and Fairtrade registered green coffee

Profile on the Highlands Organic Agriculture Co-operative Limited (HOAC) (FLO. I.D 2897)
in conjunction with the exporter Coffee Connections Limited (FLO. I.D. 3120). NASAA organic certification 8081P, NASAA, NASAA/NOP(USDA) certified and Fairtrade registered.

The Purosa region is a picturesque area of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea where plentiful rain and rich volcanic soils provide ideal growing conditions for traditional varieties of arabica coffee.

Purosa is the nucleus for a range of coffee and community activities and is located 93 kilometres south west of Goroka township, the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province.

Rainfall can be up to 3.5 metres per annum and because the roads are not sealed and gravel is scarce, villages are usually only comfortably accessed in the "dry" season being April through October coinciding with the peak coffee harvest period.

As the area is isolated and difficult to access it was decided some years ago to follow an organic coffee stream so as to add value to the coffee and to compensate for the difficult access and the historically low prices persisting at that time. With the recent introduction of Fairtrade coffee to the area there has been a burst of enthusiasm by growers to contribute to the Fairtrade program.

Background to the Purosa Fairtrade Coffee

The Fairtrade co-operative grower group is a legal entity registered in PNG under the Co-operative Societies Act 1985. The name Highlands Organic Agriculture Co-operative Ltd (HOAC) because it best reflects the passion and drive of the highlands people.

There are presently 2800 village farmers registered and living amongst the 32 village communities spread over 500 square kilometers in the Purosa valley region. These growers support about 12,000 family members and, as interest grows, it is expected that more growers will sign up with the HOAC over the next two years. Coffee is the only cash crop for these people apart from a few local vegetables.

The HOAC/Fairtrade members are all village growers who tend their small plots of coffee and individually process in their villages following organic and sustainable agricultural practices. Central processing facilities for cherry coffee have not evolved because of the long distance that needs to be traveled. The construction of these facilities may come in the future as road access improves.

The impact of Fairtrade registration.

It took some years to form the co-operative group and satisfy the Fairtrade registration requirements. During that period and without any premium returning to the growers, observers have noted a new sense of cohesion and co-operation within the Purosa communities.

Fairtrade registration has brought the growers together in a common cause of development through self-help. The future looks a whole lot brighter for them because of Fairtrade.

Aims and Objectives of the Co-operative.

The aims and objectives of the co-operative were determined at their annual meeting held in November 2017. These are set down as follows:-

  • Improvement of roads through the introduction of community responsibility for minor road maintenance in respective clan areas.
  • Introduction of programs to help community schools with text books and desks to be distributed amongst the 20 primary schools in the Purosa/Okapa district.
  • Support to four health centres and aid posts through provision of beds and mattresses for the sick plus essential medical drugs.
  • Support of community groups particularly women's groups.
  • Involvement in World Bank (PPAP) assistance programs.

Expected coffee production in 2018

Tree counts from the registered grower group coffee indicate a production potential of between 1500 and 2500 tonnes during the 2018 season. Usually there is adequate transport available from Okapa junction to Goroka but the smaller feeder roads can only be serviced by tractor and trailer or, as a last resort, by people carrying small quantities of parchment coffee on their back for one or two days. These constraints presently limit the full potential of the area.

Future prospects

The future looks a whole lot better today. As the popularity of this exquisite coffee grows and sales increase, the benefits will flow back to the growers from the Purosa region in Papua New Guinea.

Thank you for being part of it!

HOAC Village improvements

Fairtrade Benefits to the coffee growing community.