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Improving Livelihoods of Smallholder Coffee Communities in Papua New Guinea

This project aims to increase returns to labour, particularly for women, through adopting new technologies and farming practices that improve coffee quality and total production while complying with the environmental criteria of the main certification organisations.
Coffee is Papua New Guinea's second largest agricultural export after oil palm, but employs far more people; around 524,000 households (about 2.5 million people) are involved in its production. Coffee is grown in 17 of PNG's 22 provinces, and smallholders produce more than 85% as part of a food garden/cash crop farming system. Coffee is the primary source of household income for many Highlands communities, especially in remote areas.
Despite coffee's economic importance for rural livelihoods, national production has declined to less than one million bags per year and may fall further. This is despite a rapidly growing population in the Highlands coffee growing areas that account for 91% of national production. Like cocoa and coconuts, plantation production has fallen since the 1980s, and smallholders have steadily increased their share of total national production.
The industry suffers from poor quality coffee, inadequate technical knowledge for coffee farming, population pressures and land shortages that reduce both coffee and food production, and inefficient use of nutrients.
This project builds on a previous ACIAR project, ASEM/2008/036, which intercropped coffee with food crops and recycling nutrients to develop sustainable production systems for both coffee and food through efficient use of land and nutrients. Intercropping benefited women by enhancing food and income security.