The Centre of Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) in Port Moresby. Saliya Ranasinghe, CEFI Executive Director, and Charles Dambui, CIC Acting Chief Executive Officer, signed the MoU, allowing the two organisations to partner in the rollout of a program designed to improve financial literacy and inclusion to coffee farming communities.

Coffee farmers will learn how to make sound financial management decisions and introduce a savings culture. The coffee farming communities will also have access to a range of financial services that will address their business and personal needs.

The MoU also allows CEFI to train 100 CIC Extension Officers. The Training of Trainers (ToT) program will benefit 20 officers from each of the five targeted regions, including New Guinea Island and Southern, the Upper Highlands and Lower Highlands, and Momase.

CEFI Executive Director Ranasinghe said the signing was a “very historic occasion for Papua New Guinea.” He added that he was proud of the MoU with the Coffee Industry Corporation as “the coffee industry is one of the key industries in the country which brings in substantial revenue to the country.”

At the signing ceremony, Ranasinghe said, “We would like all Papua New Guineans to access to financial services which are delivered in a responsible and sustainable manner to improve farming activities and improve [the] standard of living. We can make an impact if we work with economical active people.

“What we sign today will be one of the most critical [activities] for the farming communities whom you serve, and we are extremely pleased and extremely grateful to the (CIC) CEO and his team for taking this initiative to partner with us to provide these important services to the farming communities.”

Charles Dambui, CIC Acting Chief Executive Officer, said, “Coffee is grown in 18 of the 22 provinces, and annually we generate 500-400 million Kina into the country, and over 55%-60% of that money goes directly to the farmers.

“Many of our farmers lack some knowledge when it comes to finance management. We want our farmers to be businessmen and women and not just subsistence farmers, and the skills they are lacking is budgeting and savings,” Dambui said.

“We have seen our coffee farmers pulling away from coffee because they do not have any money to invest back into the coffee garden, and they do not have [a] savings culture. On behalf of the board and the management, and the industry players, we would like to thank CEFI. We will be working closely with CEFI to see that our farmers are financially literate.”