Coffee is the second leading agricultural commodity in Papua New Guinea (PNG), after oil palm. In 2011, coffee exports were worth K927 million (US$433 million). The coffee crop provides agricultural income for some 2.5 million people, primarily in the highlands region.
There are two varieties cultivated in PNG:
- Arabica coffee is cultivated in the Highlands region at areas between 700 – 2050 meters above sea level.
- Robusta coffee is cultivated in coastal areas at sea level to 550 meters above sea level.
Although some 16 provinces are active in the coffee industry, much of the production comes from the Highlands provinces – Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Simbu. The leading coffee growing provinces (approximately 90% production) are Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Morobe, Simbu and East Sepik.
Although coffee was first introduced to PNG in 1873 by early European planters in East New Britain, the crop gained significance when small plantations were established in the Highlands in the 1950s. Coffee generally has historical records in Morobe (Wau), Central, and Oro provinces before its widespread to different parts of the country. Morobe, even to this date, maintains a strong position in production and exports.
The Coffee Industry Corporation is the regulator of the coffee industry in the country, since 1963, although marketing of the crop is largely left to the hands of private companies licensed by CIC. Its Industry Operations Division looks after industry regulations, export control, promotions and marketing, while the Research & Grower Services Division (R&GSD) takes charge of research and grower services.