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PNG Coffee goes places — from Helsinki to Rarotonga

Patrick Killoran is one of Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand’s colourful clients. The tall gangly Australian has been operating his coffee business in Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea for several years. But in the past two or three years, he has stepped up his game.

In 2016, Mr Killoran was invited to attend PTI NZ’s Path to Market delegation to Auckland’s Pasifika Festival with a small group of PNG business entrepreneurs. He was also then invited to attend the Fine Food Auckland show followed by Food Show Australia in Melbourne and the SIAL 2016 in Paris and London’s Caffe Culture in 2017 (which he’s planning to go back to this year.)

Since then Mr Killoran has spent time consolidating his efforts and doing the things he could manage. 2017 was a challenging year. But he made it through and continued to grow his business, slowly but surely.

He now has regular customers in Fiji where he is exporting monthly as also to the Cook Islands. He revitalised a coffee contact in Holland after being at SIAL 2016 and now has regular shipments to Finland. PNG Coffee sold in Finland – who knew!

Although he also exports to Australia and New Zealand, amounts are relatively small. Mr Killoran also has a great upmarket café in Mt Hagen and even if the visitor numbers are relatively low he remains optimistic.

The biggest challenges he faces are ongoing costs of freight, making transporting his coffee from PNG to international markets such as Australia and New Zealand expensive. Infrastructure is also a challenge. It’s tough going but Mr Killoran keeps ploughing forward.

This year Mr Killoran plans to attend London’s Coffee Culture organised through Trade Promotion Advisor Robyn Ekstrom of Pacific Trade Invest – Europe. Mr Killoran has also reached another milestone and been accepted for HACCP certification now working through the finer details. The certification should help crack open European market doors a little more as international demand for coffee continues to grow.

The Telegraph’s Digital Travel Editor mapped the ‘world according to coffee consumption per capita’ on 1 October 2017. The result – Finland averages 12kg per person per year according to stats from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO). Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada round out the top 10. Not surprisingly, all countries with very cold climates!

Brazil tops the biggest coffee exporter in the world, a spot its held for more than 150 years! It once held 80 per cent of the worlds market but now holds a third. The rest of the top 10 are Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico, and Guatemala. PNG exports almost all (99.9%) of its coffee in green beans. Less than 1% of its coffee in roast and ground form – and that’s the market where Banz Kofi is.

A recent study of Papua New Guinea’s coffee industry funded by PHAMA released in 2017 identified that PNG’s coffee sector involved around 400,000 households with annual export returns of around K350 million (AUD 148). But it also identified a raft of other issues affecting the progress of the industry.

But for a small holder such as Mr Killoran of Banz Kofi – exporting a high quality roasted coffee product is a big task but one that he’s willing to take on. Coffee is what he does.

© Scoop Media

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