Coffee first came to the Simbu province in the 1950's and today, Simbu is the third largest coffee producer in PNG, providing livelihoods for roughly 300,000 locals. In the early 1990’s, Jerry Kapka decided to embark on a mission to elevate the local coffee-growing community of Simbu. Initially met with resistance and local challenges, Jerry’s determination saw him push through, founding Kongo Coffee in 1999. Kongo Coffee to this day, produces approximately 7,200 tons of coffee each year, with roughly 4,500 tons being shipped internationally to USA, Germany, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Korea. With Jerry’s continuous investment in his people and the local coffee community, Kongo Coffee has established itself as one of the top producers of coffee from PNG.
Kongo Coffee has been built on the foundations of supporting local growers through fair pricing, education to improve quality, and strong relationships within the local communities. These strong relationships have aided in fostering a joint understanding of the value in producing better coffee and receiving higher payments for cherries. Through this Jerry has helped coffee producers in the Simbu province thrive by defining their own unique flavour and upholding a reputation based on continuously delivering high-quality coffee.
Kongo Coffee has been integral in redefining relationships between coffee producers and exporters in PNG. Historically coffee from PNG has been seen as cheap due to inconsistency in both quality and supply. Farmers had little to no education around plant maintenance and many of the trees produced low yields. As an in indigenously owned operation, Kongo Coffee has removed the incentive to sell low-quality coffee to large multinationals and instead, has empowered producers to improve the quality of their yields. By incentivising farmers to replant crops, cut back old plants, and only pick the ripest of cherries, Jerry now provides higher price incentives based on quality not volume.
Passionate about his community, Jerry remains in touch with the needs of his people and the challenges they face. As a result, he established the ‘Jerry Kapka Foundation’, enabling Kongo Coffee to donate a portion of their profits each year to support worthy community-based projects in Chuave and Simbu. The worthy causes each year include schools that make education accessible for all, hospitals that provide complex medical operations and medicine for women and children, and youth groups. In 2010 the Simbu Children’s Foundation formally recognised Jerry Kapka’s contributions and support by naming him as a Patron of the foundation.
Kongo Coffee's commitment to making positive change in the local community is one of the many reasons we choose to work closely with them. Kongo Coffee financially contributes to supporting indigenous small producers and helps to elevate Papua New Guinea as a producer of high-quality and consistent coffee.