This project aimed to develop new farmer-driven extension models involving partnerships between the public and commercial sectors to improve nutrient management, extension delivery and the mobilisation of labour for coffee production.
Coffee is PNG's second largest agricultural export after oil palm, although it employs far more people; 370,000 households (2.5 million people) produce coffee in 12 provinces. Despite coffee's economic importance for rural livelihoods, annual national production over the last 10 years has stagnated at around one million bags. Like other commodity tree crops, plantation production has declined since the 1980s. Smallholders have steadily increased their share of total national production to over 85%, but smallholder yields have fallen and coffee quality is poor. Plantation yields of green beans are almost twice as high as smallholder yields, indicating that better maintenance of coffee gardens and higher rates of harvesting can considerably improve productivity and incomes.
This project integrated nutrient management, extension and socioeconomic factors into the examination and analysis of smallholder production. Its research approach recognised how coffee production is embedded in agricultural, social, and economic systems that influence smallholder families' decisions.