Morobe Coffee Program


Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea


Product: Coffee
Program Phase: Field Trials
ProgramPartners: Harmony Gold, Outspan PNG, Coffee Industry Corporation
Year Completed: 2019


Harmony Gold’s Hidden Valley mine, situated in Morobe Province, PNG, will close in the coming years. With about 2,100 people either directly or indirectly employed by the mine, most from the region, the economic impact will be significant.

Apart from artisanal mining and farming, there are not many economic opportunities for the Morobe community. With farming in the region being predominantly subsistent, rates of extreme poverty are high. To address this cycle of poverty, stronger links to the market with a viable commercial commodity was required.


The Options Study conducted by Business for Development at the end of 2017 revealed coffee was a viable agronomic avenue to pursue for the communities near the mine, as many farmers had been growing coffee for many years. However, with poor agronomic practices, poor road infrastructure to markets, and a long, fragmented value chain, farmers were receiving little revenue for their efforts. An overhaul of the coffee value chain was required to improve profitability for the farmers.

Business for Development executed a field trial focusing on reinvigorating the local coffee industry and improving livelihood opportunities. The trials started with three communities near the Hidden Valley mine. The following activities were undertaken:

  • Rehabilitated old coffee trees and training in good agricultural practices to improve quality and yields.
  • Upgraded equipment such as pulpers and building raised drying tables.
  • Developed a market linkage with a strong buyer and working together to improve quality, collection and logistics post-harvest.
  • Established bank accounts for farmers to facilitate safer direct payment.


  • Farmers near Harmony Gold’s mine are now on the path to reaping higher returns from farming coffee, with an increase in returns by 26%.
  • Farmers can now produce better quality parchment thanks to skills and capability development training for 105 farmers in coffee production, harvest, processing, and equipment construction.
  • Improved farmer co-ordination, collaboration, organisation, and quality checks within villages as farmers work collectively to mobilise coffee for transport and sale.
  • Reduction in risk for both farmers and buyers with the establishment of bank accounts and direct payment into those accounts.

Design by HEARD Agency