Business and smallholders partnering to export Papua New Guinea coconut products

Niugini Organics, an expanding exporter of organic coconut products made in PNG, is showcasing a business model which benefits smallholder groups in East New Britain. Business Advantage PNG spoke with director Dennis Hill to find out more.

Directors Debra and Dennis Hill with the Niugini Organics team. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

Directors Debra and Dennis Hill with the Niugini Organics team. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

Niugini Organics has exported organic coconut products manufactured at its headquarters near Keravat in East New Britain since 2008.

A PNG-owned company, it produces coconut oil and soaps from its 1,150 square metre manufacturing factory.

The company has a growing export market, which is most established in Australia and New Zealand, where its products are found in thousands of health stores and supermarkets.

Niugini Organics Director Dennis Hill tells Business Advantage PNG his company is continuing to develop its export markets, especially in Europe, the United States, and even Kazakhstan.

‘Our strategic advantage for doing business here is obviously the supply of coconuts in a town that happens to have a good port with a reasonable amount of direct overseas shipping,’ says Hill, who founded the company with his wife, Debra.

Landowner contribution

The foundation of Niugini Organics’ business is a strong partnership with local smallholders who supply coconuts, with around 200 groups now involved in the operation.

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An operation with smallholder groups has been critical for Niugini Organics. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

An operation with smallholder groups has been critical for Niugini Organics. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

Hill says Niugini Organics has focused on establishing the smallholder operation as an integral part of its business.

‘We specifically run it as a smallholder operation, not a buying point where we just buy coconuts. We have a buying plan and a schedule we put out weeks in advance, and all of the smallholders are also organically certified,’ Hill explains.

With PNG’s agricultural sector looking for a boost, Hill believes the smallholder model should potentially provide wider benefits for other businesses in the industry.

‘The smallholder model, where you have an integrated company that really sticks to its own business and does what it is good at—which is producing a product—isn’t utilised enough,’ Hill said.

‘Then they utilise smallholders to do what they can do—that’s a model that works. It is a bit of a pity in a way that more businesses don’t follow that model.’

Company growth

Hill said Niugini Organics has no intention of changing its model by becoming a landowner in East New Britain. Instead, the company will continue to focus on the production of its goods.

‘One thing that we don’t want is the issue of large land ownership and the complications that brings,’ Hill explains.

‘There is a certain amount of ethical decision-making there. Everything is better served by sharing it out. You can utilise your capital for expansion of the core business without spreading it over things such as the cost of land ownership.’

Hill says Niugini Organics’ regular investment in coconuts from local landowner groups was directly benefiting the area of East New Britain.

The next generation of coconut farmers on East New Britain. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

The next generation of coconut farmers on East New Britain. Credit: Jody Cleaver.

‘Coconuts are a big expenditure for us. We are spending between K1000 and K2000 each day, 7 days a week,’ Hill notes.

Challenging times

Copra, the dried meat of the coconut, remains one of PNG’s leading agricultural exports, despite global demand declining significantly in recent decades.

In 2014, PNG exported more than 48,000 tonnes of copra, which was worth K63.7 million to the country, according to Bank of PNG statistics. This was a significant increase on 2013, as prices improved during the first half of the year.

Prices have fluctuated throughout 2015, as production from leading producers—including the Philippines and India—has dropped. Copra oil averaged K2,550 per tonne on the export market in the March quarter.


  1. Peter Romo Amatus says:

    Sorry, my . Kind regards. Peter Romo Amatus.

  2. Peter Romo Amatus says:

    I’m buying copra from local farmers. The supply of copra is huge. However I want to get extra funding to sustain the business. Is there any help out there. Thanks. Peter

  3. Beven Saile says:

    Hi, Deepak.
    Yes, I have seen your comments regarding Copra Industry in PNG and Im very interested to partner with you in this industry.
    Im from papua New Guinea and I reside in Kimbe, west New Britain Province.My District is Dominated with Coconut and Cocoa crops only.
    If you a interested,Could please share your details wth me for further discussion.
    Below is my email address..

  4. Francis Alu says:

    I’ve been recently given a licence to export dry copra out of PNG and need a market. Can any interested partner contact me on

  5. Maxwell Kombia says:

    I am doing research on the possibility of utilization coconut husks, shell and leaves in PNG. I would like to venture into process these here in PNG. Interested partner from overseas can share idea with me.

  6. Good day Sir,

    I want to sell dry coconut to over sea market. That husk, she’ll and meat. How can you help me. Here is my email.

    Thank you.

  7. Virginia Balagot says:


    I have Bangladeshi clients who are in need of dried copra meat. kindly email me product specification and quotation at;

    Warm regards,
    Virginia Balagot

  8. Sandra kopman says:

    I need a partner in the Asian countries in regards to coconut husk.

  9. DEEPAK says:

    Respect sir:
    I am Deepak from India in state of Tamil Nadu .I have seen and study about your country has of agriculture in that you have developed in coconut yeild as for copra etc.But PNG should want to develope more in coconuts products because coconut is an Eco Friendly In Nature. without using any chemical or any pesticides there are many things to make it coconut as things like coir fiber ,coir pith ,coir rope ,coir flooring mat etc.I have more ideas about coconut because I had running coconut Traders and coir industry business as own in India plz think it off about this idea to develope PNG.
    Thanking you

    • Jen Imatana says:

      Iam impressed with what we can do with coconuts.

    • Hello Deepak,

      Could you please share your contact details for me to contact you. I reside in the capital city of Papua New Guinea and I’m from South India where we locally supply copra.

  10. kuriva.Aivei says:

    I would like to be part of the network
    I have made alot of cocnut oil but i need a market i have 5 plantation own
    how could you help mi

    • Ben Francis says:

      Yes. We can provide market for your coconut oil. Please reply to the following email address>

    • Vijayan kaprat says:

      Pls contact us for any enquiries regarding coconut and coconut byproducts manufacturing in Papua New Guinea . Exports, Manufactring in to value added products , efficient utilisation of all coconut products , including husk, shell .Expert guidance can be given. The entrepreneurs from East new Briton , Madand and Bogainville are most welcome .

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