Forging alliances: Coffee grower and chain leader partnerships to improve productivity and coffee quality in Papua New Guinea
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© 2019 Victoria University of Wellington and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd Partnership discourse is making advances in development dialogue as a means to improve the livelihoods of the agrarian populace. In Papua New Guinea, productive partnerships flourished during the early growth of the coffee industry. After the demise of plantations and rural mills in the lead up to political independence, the support services that plantations used to provide to smallholders, including centralised processing, have ceased as have price incentives for quality. Consequently, smallholders began to produce coffee of inconsistent quality and their productivity has also declined. However, coffee value chain partnerships have the potential to reverse the present decline of coffee production and increase the productivity of coffee farmers and address the inconsistency and the supply of low-grade coffee. Using two case studies of farmer cooperatives, we investigate collective action and also assess partnerships among present value chain actors. The case studies were supported with interviews of value chain actors to gain further insights into partnerships with farmer groups. This paper illustrates that through collective action and partnerships, coffee farmers can improve coffee production and quality, enhance governance systems in grower groups, attract community development services and diversify into other entrepreneurial activities.
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