Commercial coffee production started in Papua New Guinea in the 1920s with seeds brought from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, a Typica known as Jamaica Blue Mountain. At that time most of the coffee production came from 18 large plantations. Plantations still exist in PNG but it only accounts for 15% of the total production; most of the production now comes from small-holders who tend to their coffee gardens, as they call them locally. The small-holders are subsistence farmers (meaning they live of their land) and they also grow coffee–there are no coffee farmers per-se. Each garden might have anywhere from a couple to a couple hundred trees of coffee and parchment deliveries can range from 25 – 65 kg. Coffee is currently grown in 15 of the 19 provinces in the country, and half of the rural population have a direct connection with coffee production.
One of the most painful problems faced by the farmers producing coffee in Papua New Guinea is the poor quality of basic infrastructure such as rural roads. Many a time this leads to unsold coffee remaining in the farms, which they cannot consume and consequent loss of their very revenue or results in distress sale of their produce to even maintain subsistence level of their living. Other problem areas highlighted are the changing of the cropping pattern from coffee to more economical crops or food crops, limited family land holdings restraining further growth, labour shortages creating difficulties during the main crop picking season and the unavoidable movement of the youth from the villages to the urban areas in search of better job opportunities.
Size: 462,840 km²
Capital City: Port Moresby
Population: 8.085 million
Languages: Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin, English, and 848 additional tribal dialects
Average farm size: 95 per cent of PNG’s coffee is produced by smallholder growers, who typically have less than 1,500 trees
Annual production: 800,000 – 1 million bags
Bags exported annually: 800,000 – 1 million bags
Annual domestic consumption: Majority is exported
Growing regions:Western and Eastern Highlands
Varieties: Arusha, Blue Mountain, San Ramon
Processing Methods: Washed
Bag Size: 60 kg
Harvest Period: June to August
Shipment Period: August to December