Goroka coffee, a product of Angco, is now becoming internationally known as the brand name of one of Papua New Guinea’s most superior coffees. But with annual production at a mere 100 tonnes, it is overshadowed by the other interests of that company – the buying, processing and exporting of more than 23,000 tonnes of best Papua New Guinea Highlands raw coffee to more than 20 countries world-wide.
Angco is at the heart of PNG’s coffee business and PNG’s largest coffee exporter.
Coffee first began to be produced in the Highlands in 1953. By 1967, when Angco was formed, 5000 tonnes per annum were being produced. Today the national figure stands at 70,000 tonnes and the industry has established itself throughout the Central Highlands where the geographic conditions at around 5,000 feet altitude are perfect for a high quality crop.
‘Coffee arabica’ is the botanical name of the small tree with dark green leaves and sprays of white flowers which are followed by the festoons of red berries containing the all-important bean. The varieties grown in PNG are of the traditional type, providing the clean distinctive taste that European coffee-drinkers in particular seem to enjoy.
As coffee growing in Papua New Guinea is substantially an activity of small-holders, with 75% of the crop produced in this way coming from holdings of less than 1 hectare, it provides many families in the Highlands with their major source of cash income. More than 1 million people – something like one quarter of PNG’s total population – depend on coffee for the cash element of their livelihood, making coffee PNG’s single largest source of employment and income.
The future looks good for coffee grown the PNG way. Some of the Goroka brand is organically grown and certified, another very attractive feature in today’s environmentally conscious world. “We could sell twice as much coffee as we do at present if only we were able to get it and if the quality was maintained”, says General Manager, Craig McConaghy. Quality is all-important in the coffee market and to understand what Craig means by quality you could always try a cup of Goroka!