Thursday, October 9, 2014

PEOPLE OWNED COOPERATIVE TAKES ANOTHER STEP FORWARD

In 2013,  EM TV  featured a story about a small coffee cooperative  in  Boana, Morobe province.
It was started by a former elementary school  teacher who was looking for a way  help farmers pay for their children’s school fees.

Well… that coffee cooperative has grown.   Neknasi is now  a leading example  of  a homegrown cooperative that has begun exporting to international markets. 
This is a follow on from the Neknasi Story


Boana has never been the center of attention in Morobe Province.    It is  remote and for years has remained one of the most neglected  district centers  in Papua New Guinea. 

But in the last five  years, the people,  who had become  tired of   the transport and economic  hardships   stopped asking the government for assistance  and built   a  coffee cooperative.
The  idea came from Mong Bngun,  former elementary school teacher who,  in his previous life,  found that parents  difficulty   paying  the required school fees.
Michael Toliman - General Manager, Neknasi
So Neknasi happened.  A cooperative of   200 farmers was formed. 
Initially, they were,    very much,  under resourced  but  they  had  more than 50 years of  coffee growing experience.  For the farmers,  that was more than enough.
One of the driving forces  behind Neknasi’s success has been Michael Toliman.
Mong Bungun, Chairman of Neknasi
The  Tolai    who  has now become an honorary  local tribesman from Boana,   began his association with the farmers when he was working with the Coffee Industry Cooperation.  After a few years, He quit his job as a government officer and helped to build Neknasi.  
“The governance of the cooperative  is strong,”   says the cooperative’s general manager.  “There is a board, an executive arm and   leaders in each of the village communities.”       
          A few months back in Goroka, the Prime minister, Peter O’Neill,   personally   presented the group with   their coffee export license giving them the authority to grow, process and export coffee.
For Neknasi,  the coffee export license  has become the icing on the cake.   They own the land,  control the quality and  now control nearly  every  toea they make  from revenue exports.
Neknasi has also been responsible  for opening   up the Boana  road.  The farmers built some of the smaller roads by hand. Later they  hired a bulldozer to help.
Now,  through a partnership with Fairtrade International, they are  receiving a premium on top of their normal coffee export revenue.
That  money is now being used to pay for 500 water  taps  which will be installed  in the Boana area.

No comments:

Post a Comment