Korofeigu Farmer’s Co-op is located in the Bena Bena valley in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
The co-op is now made up of around 100 members but has its roots in a project started in 1945 with just 13 local teenagers recruited by the Papua New Guinea government who saw coffee as a way to boost the country’s economic development. The Government identified village plots in the highlands with perfect coffee growing conditions – high altitude, good rainfall and a warm temperature, and good native tree coverage to provide natural shade.
The teenagers were sent on a year long training programme where they learned about coffee production techniques, planting and tending seedlings in their village plots, and teaching other local youths what they were learning to encourage coffee growing communities to develop.
Not all of the villages were supportive of the programme however, with many locals questioning the wisdom of planting a crop which takes three years to yield its first harvest when other crops would give a faster yield. However despite this resistance, and neglect of some of the early plots, none were removed and slowly over time, a coffee culture did develop – the results of which we enjoy with these beans. Coffee is now the most important commodity of Papua New Guinea, providing a source of income for a third of the country’s population either directly or indirectly.
The Korofeigu Co-operative work together to help the small scale farmers afford organic certification, something which is out of reach of many small farmers even if they are using organic methods. The co-operative also provides education and support in HIV & AIDS, financial management, gender equality, coffee farming, and improving standards and procedures.