Business for Development is designing a coffee pilot for Harmony Gold’s Hidden Valley mine impacted communities in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The pilot is set to begin mid-2018 and will have a whole of supply chain focus, working to boost production, improve market access and shorten the value chain to improve grower returns. It will include the introduction of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) such as pruning and fertilising to lift yields and improve post-harvest handling to enhance coffee parchment quality.

Why?

Harmony Gold has been working in Hidden Valley since 2010 and directly employs approximately 2,000 staff of which 44% are local. The mine is set to close in the next 5 to 10 years (depending on commodity prices), and Harmony’s Community Affairs team in partnership with Business for Development, Olam International and the Coffee Industry Corporation of PNG (CIC) are working on developing a non-mine dependent economy in the mine impacted communities near the mine site. As a result, Harmony is looking to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for the local population.

The objective is to create a sustainable and scalable coffee value chain, to uplift economic opportunities for those who don’t work at the mine and for current employees who will need alternative income sources once the mine closes. 

How?

In 2017 an analysis was conducted on a range of commodities from coffee to vanilla, to identify the commodity that could potentially best support local communities post mine closure. Coffee was found to grow easily in the area and most people understand how to grow it. There is also a demand for good quality PNG coffee and Olam International one of the worlds’ largest coffee traders  has shown interest to partner in the development of the pilot project..

What?

Over the next year the pilot will focus on selected growers to demonstrate at small scale a functional, aligned coffee value chain and supportive ecosystem. To achieve this, a range of interventions are being implemented to improve husbandry practices to increase production, increase grower income levels, strengthen the existing value chain and shore up demand for Wau/Bulolo district coffee, including: 

  • Agronomic assistance to improve yield and quality
  • Provision of tools and equipment
  • Improvement in logistics
  • Selling directly to an exporter
  • Provision of ongoing grower support and revision of the extension approaches.

It is going to be a very busy 12 months for Harmony, Business for Development, Olam and CIC to develop this economic eco-system. Once the pilot is complete, Harmony will review the results and determine if the project should be extended across the region.