MUPA Farmers Thrive with Premium Markets

EU-STREIT PNG Programme and IPA support MUPA Cocoa Cooperative, a union of 240 farmers from Yuat LLG in East Sepik Province. Their partnership with Queen Emma Chocolate Company results in substantially higher prices for their top-tier cocoa beans.

Director of MUPA Cocoa Cooperative Ltd, Sperian Kapia, revealed that the company is now paying an elevated rate of K630 per bag for their dried beans. This stands in stark contrast to the typical average price range of K530 to K570 per bag offered by intermediary buyers. The initial shipment of 40 bags of premium dried beans has added an extra K4,000 to the cooperative's coffers.

This augmented income at the cooperative level has enabled MUPA and their associated fermentaries to offer a higher compensation for wet beans, thus extending benefits to grassroots-level farmers who supply these fermentaries.

Kapia highlighted, "Thanks to the direct connection formed with the premium buyer, we are now able to pay farmers a higher price for wet beans – PGK 1.7 per kilogram, which is 21 percent above the normal rate. This improvement has a significant impact on the well-being of our community members, enabling them to provide for their families' needs."

This newfound support allows MUPA to invest in social development initiatives, including education and healthcare infrastructure, further enhancing the community's prosperity.

The establishment of market linkages is crucial for remote farming communities, as it grants them access to specialized markets, fosters competitive pricing, and provides valuable market insights. Consequently, this connectivity has led to increased productivity, enhanced product quality, and an overall uplift in livelihoods.

The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), facilitates exposure visits to national and international agri-food trade shows. The program empowers Sepik-based agripreneurs to learn, interact, identify potential buyers, and forge new business opportunities.

Sperian Kapia's success story exemplifies the program's impact. With the support of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, he participated in the International Food Service & Hospitality Exhibition in Singapore in August 2022. This platform enabled him to initiate connections with Queen Emma Chocolate Company, a fellow participant at the event.

Sperian recalled, "The interest shown by Queen Emma Chocolate's representatives led to an invitation to visit their factory in Port Moresby. Subsequently, through collaborative efforts involving the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, IPA, and Queen Emma, a new potential buyer emerged from New Zealand – Pacific Cocoa 380. The program facilitated the transportation of 20 kg of our cocoa beans to New Zealand, where the quality was acknowledged."

"This exciting journey culminated in a visit from Pacific Cocoa 380's manager to our village on the eastern bank of the Mighty Sepik River. The company expressed interest in purchasing 15 to 20 tons of our cocoa dried beans at a fair price."

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