Little did he know about the complexities of venturing into packaging his own coffee brand, when he started selling parchment coffee 15 years ago as a farmer in Kimiagomo village of the West Okapa LLG in the Eastern Highlands Province.
Jonah Anagoh, like many other coffee farmers, who sell their coffee produce on a seasonal basis, says selling his own coffee brand today is something he never dreamt of doing so soon.
Anagoh recalls with satisfaction on how his coffee cooperative group Kanite Kirapim Association started way back in 2000. Back then, he started doing little awareness activities to his fellow villagers from neighbouring villages of Kemeyu, Amufi, Inivi, Yafanagomo and Koana. A handful of farmers showed interest and joined the cooperative group, most of which had less than 1 hectare of coffee trees.
Anagoh’s passion and drive to form Kanite Kirapim Association paid off when he approached the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) in 2009 and received much needed coffee husbandry and marketing training.
The group was in the spotlight after winning the 2014 Coffee Farmers Inaugural Coffee Competition, scoring 87 points on the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) standards. According to the SCAA, coffees with scores around that range are categorised as specialty coffees that could fetch premium prices.
Kanite Kirapim Association has come a long way in terms of selling parchment coffee since 2006 and gradually seeing progress in having their packeted and branded coffee ‘Kanite Moutain Coffee’ today.
“Mipela I hamamas long halivim I kam long CIC long kisim mipela I kam long dispel level nau. Mipela I gat bikpela hamamas na interes long continue long dispel wok.”(Jonah explained that he is very grateful for the support from CIC to bring them to where they are now and look forward to continuing this partnership).
They are now receiving six times more in terms of price received compared to when they were selling parchment coffee at factory door prices.
CIC Marketing Officer Jacqueline Ruguna explained that it was a promising initiative under CIC’s tree to cup policy to support the local SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) in the coffee sector. However, there were no proper facilities to further assist with the increasing demand that was coming from the smallholder farmers to process their coffees into roast and ground. “Currently, we are using other partners’ facilities to support Kanite and other groups but it is still a struggle to get the end product we want”, added Ruguna. She further stated that with the recent launching of the GoPNG’s SME masterplan, she hopes that it can cater for such shortcomings for many rural coffee farmers in similar cases.
Anagoh spoke with a heavy sigh that although this is a good start for Kanite as a smallholder into the business of roasting and packaging their coffee, he is calling out to his district administrator and local MP and stakeholders in the industry to support aspiring groups as such to reach their full potentials.
Kanite Mountain Coffee is now on supermarket shelves and also promoted at the Jackson’s International terminal. The coffee has been receiving positive feedback for its unique flavours, and orders from hotels and business houses are steadily increasing. Anagoh extended his appreciation to the following business houses that have been very supportive in promoting Kanite coffee-- Figaro coffee, Duffy, Chin H Meen company, Norvik Enterprises Ltd and Bintagor Trading Ltd.
Kanite Mountain Coffee and Bomai Coffee, also from the Eastern Highlands were both exclusively served to more than 400 delegates at the recent Australia & PNG Business Forum in Cairns, Australia.
Jonah Anagoh happily displaying Kanite Mountain Coffee.