Support to Rural Enterpreneurship, Investment and Trade in Papua New Guinea (EU-STREIT PNG)

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Remote Cocoa Farmers Uplift their Livelihood by Establishing Businesses with Premium Markets

EU-STREIT PNG Programme strengthens cocoa farmers’ MSMEs across the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea and supports their connection with domestic and international niche markets for premium prices.

Sperian Kapia, Director of MUPA Cocoa Cooperative Ltd., in Angoram District, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

Sperian Kapia, Director of MUPA Cocoa Cooperative Ltd., in Angoram District, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea


Wewak, Papua New Guinea – Cocoa farmers from a remote community living along the mighty Sepik River are now connected to the leading cocoa industry players in the country and overseas and receive a premium price for their quality cocoa products.

With support from the EU-STREIT PNG Programme and PNG Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), MUPA Cocoa Cooperative Society, comprised of 240 farmers from two villages in Yuat LLG of Angoram District in East Sepik Province, established a business link with Queen Emma Chocolate Company (subsidiary of Pradaise Food Limited) and sent the first shipment of quality beans to this leading PNG chocolate-making company, achieving a considerably higher market price. 

According to the Director of MUPA Cocoa Cooperative Ltd, Sperian Kapia, the company is paying a higher rate for their dried beans at PGK 630 per bag, which is about PGK 70 to 100 more than the average price (PGK 530 to 570 per bag) offered by intermediary buyers. 

With this price, the first shipment of MUPA, consisting of 40 bags of quality dried beans, fetches an additional PGK 4,000 into the cooperative’s bank account. 

This premium price paid for dried beans and extra income generated at the cooperative level, allows MUPA and affiliated fermentaries to pay a higher rate for wet beans, extending the benefits to farmers at the grassroots level, who produce and supply wet beans to fermentaries. 

“The usual price for wet beans used to be lower, around PGK 1.4 per KG, but thanks to the direct connection formed with the premium buyer, we are now able to pay the farmers at a higher price, PGK 1.7 per KG of wet beans, which is 21 percent above the normal rate,” said Sperian. 

“This helps the parents in my community to pay for their kids’ school fees, buy utensils for their houses, and better food to improve family’s diets.”

“With this support and market arrangement that gives us more money, we can also continue to support our farmers in terms of social development; we have school and want to support it in terms of infrastructure and educational material, also our health care.” 

Market linkage establishment is vital for remote farming communities as it opens up access to niche markets, allowing them to sell products at competitive prices, and gain valuable insights into market trends. As a result, they can enhance their productivity, improve product quality, and ultimately uplift their livelihoods. 

With this perspective, the EU-STREIT PNG Programme works on improving the access of local agricultural enterprises to domestic and overseas markets. It includes, among others, organising exposure visits to national and international agri-food trade shows, where the Sepik-based agripreneurs can learn, interact, identify potential buyers, and forge new business opportunities. 

Sperian was one of the Sepik cocoa model farmers who, with the support of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, participated in the International Food Service & Hospitality Exhibition in Singapore in August 2022 – where he initiated the market linkage with Queen Emma Chocolate Company, that was participating at the same Exhibition.

“It was there that Queen Emma Chocolate’s representatives showed interest in our cocoa and invited me to visit their factory in Port Moresby. We reached to an agreement to supply the company with our unique cocoa dried beans,” said Sperian. 

“Later, with the help of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, IPA, and Queen Emma, we were connected to a new potential buyer from New Zealand, the Pacific Cocoa 380. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme assisted us in freighting 20 KG of our cocoa dried beans to New Zealand which has tasted our cocoa, and interested in the quality. Thereafter, the Manager of the company travelled all the way from New Zealand to our village on the eastern bank of Mighty Sepik River,” explained Sperian. “During the visit, the company agreed to buy 15 to 20 tons of cocoa dried beans at a real fair price from MUPA.”

“This was an exciting moment for our community that depends on cocoa income to sustain and improve their well-being.”

“Our farmers are in a very remote place. You drive by vehicle from Wewak to the Sepik River waterfront for more than 4 hours and take over a 2-hour boat ride up to the Yuat Tributary, where our hamlets are located. To have this connection is something different and promising to our farmers,” added Sperian. 

The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in Papua New Guinea and aims to help improve the lives of the farmers from East and West Sepik provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and agri-business development environment in cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains.


Amir Khaleghiyan International Reporting and Communication Officer +675 8175 3146 [email protected]