BY JOAN BAILEY
The drive to create local commodity market for commodity farmers in Morobe Province has seen a local firm effectively doing downstream processing at a small-scale for almost three years.
PNG Solardry Limited co-founder and general manager, Debbrah Yalu said their firm has been doing downstream processing of coffee, cocoa and spices since 2020.
She said they have specialty in solar dried products and their products are solar dried cocoa, coffee and coconut commodities that are processed and sourced in Lae.
She said they started with cocoa, buying cocoa beans and solar drying them before processing into the best and finest finished products of cocoa powder for cottage production, including cocoa butter.
“Our cocoa butter comes in 150g while cocoa powder is packed in 250g and 350g. For coffee, our product is washed coffee, red honey coffee and natural process coffee comes in 300g respectively, while the by-products are Cascara tea and mocca which comes in 300g as well.”
Mrs Yalu said they also produce high value coconut products of virgin coconut oil, frangipani infused coconut oil, Kumul best, turmeric oil and eagle essence.
She said they also process spices from turmeric, ginger and chillie and they are doing this because they want to support more than 500 commodity farmers.
“We have spent close to K100,000 on these product lines on a small-scale with these commodity processing machines, maintain operations and providing employment for our school leavers that we get to assist us,” Mrs Yalu said.
“Marketing is a challenge for us as Papua New Guineans are used to buying cheap products and don’t want to drink their own, organic and locally made products.
However, this doesn’t stop us from doing what we do best for our farmers as we have vast knowledge and skills in these areas and we are doing this for our farmers, because farming these commodities is their only source of income.”
She gave credit to her husband for investing in downstream processing of commodities for local markets, adding they have plans to expand with all commodities that PNG grows and exports.