Farm: Rika Rika
Varietal: Typica & Arusha
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Altitude: 1,600+ metres above sea level
Owner: Kahento family
Town / City: Kainantu, Tairora Province
Region: Eastern Highlands
11 April 2015
Overall: Raspberry; Chocolate; Slight floral;
Korona - Papua New Guinea
Korona Estate’s 132 hectare farm consists of 102 hectares of Typica and Arusha coffee trees and 30 hectares of undeveloped conservation land. Located about a 40 minutes drive to the southeast of the town of Kainantu, the farm is located in some of the Eastern Highlands’ best coffee growing land.
Korona is currently owned by Mr. & Mrs. Megani Kahento, who purchased the farm from Jimmy Wan, a third generation Chinese-Papua New Guinean, in 1987. The Wan family originally acquired the property in 1953 when they purchased it from the Australian planter, Sam Marshall, and Jimmy became one of the first planters (and certainly the first farmer of Chinese extraction) to bring coffee to the Highlands.
By the mid-1980s, Wan had established more than 100 hectares of coffee and imported milling and processing equipment from Scotland, building Korona to be one of the best-known farms in the region. While Korona has, for the past several years, struggled with property ownership issues, recently the Kahento family (who are originally from the Highlands) have settled all outstanding issues and are working towards carrying on this legacy by increasing production and rehabilitating the farms’ wet and dry mills.
The family strives to produce very high quality Arabica coffee in a region well-suited to this goal: with plentiful rain and rich volcanic soils, farmers can count on ideal growing conditions for their coffee. Although proper soil analysis is not feasible in this context, given the lack of specialized facility and cost of conducting tests, soil fertility has been observed to be particularly good throughout the estate. Soil fertility is maintained not through chemical inputs but rather though keeping a good cover of leguminous cover crops throughout. After receiving training from affiliates of Monpi mills, the family is also now applying coffee pulp to their coffee trees, as well. Pest and disease control is usually done by hand, and there is no need for irrigation as rainfall reaches 2,000mm per annum.
The estate provides employment that sustains the economic wellbeing of many communities within its vicinity: almost 500 rural people of the Tairora province benefit from working on the farm. Coffee maintenance in the plantation is done block by block. Workers (and family members) work each block straight after the harvest season, pruning the farm’s trees. This structural prune is done once a year to keep the crop healthy. In 2015, the plantation underwent a complete maintenance prune and benefits are expected to be seen for 2016’s crop.
Lots are separated by the date delivered, supplier name & coffee quality grade. There is no difference in cultivation practices between lots, which all follow certification best practices.
Coffee is selectively hand-picked and delivered to the farm’s wet mill on the same day to be floated and then pulped. After pulping, the coffee is fermented for several days and then washed using clean water diverted from a nearby creek. Parchment is delivered to dry on raised drying beds – where they are again sorted - for a maximum period of 5 days. During cloudy and cool days, the time drying extends to about 7 days. Some coffee is also dried using the traditional method on tarpaulin sails on the ground.
The farm’s coffee plantations are 100% shade grown under native forest. Furthermore, the has appointed and sanctioned a conservation area to the west of the plantation.
In the future, coffee farming is seen as a means to maintain important native vegetation and wildlife within the natural environments in which coffee is seen to grow. Individual farms have demarcated conservation areas within farms. There are also designated community conservation areas. Natural water sources are also preserved within the local communities. Coffee will continue to be seen as cash crop that fits into cultural ways of preserving the forest and its inhabitants, though unpredictable weather increasingly poses issues. Farmers are making every effort to mitigate climate change through education and training to teach them new methods of farming in unpredictable environments.
Training is also delivered to farmers annually with focus on relevant best practices in coffee farming and appropriate technologies required to improve coffee quality and quantity. Sustainable Management Services (a division of Monpi that provides services helping with sustainability) has begun to conduct annual extension field work within coffee farming communities, as well, including internal inspection/checks on homestead sanitation, such as toilets and rubbish pits.