A new future for Paradise Spices


Paradise Spices is back in the hands of GTM Distributors’ General Manager Max Puritau, who is planning more products, staff and investment. He outlines the plans to Business Advantage PNG.

Rhicornese Holdings Ltd is the new owner of Paradise Spices, which now operates under the brand Besti.

Puritau sold Paradise Spices in 2013 to Paradise Foods, and joined Rhicornese Holdings, a group of companies delivering services to rural and remote PNG. In October Rhicornese acquired Paradise Spices for K180,000. The company now operates under a new brand called Besti.

While General Manager of Rhicornese’s subsidiary company GTM Distributors, Puritau has dealt in spices and vanilla products, coffee, cocoa and water. Turnover is K5 million per annum.

Last year, he also oversaw GTM Distributors’ venture into the copra buying and export business. Branches were opened in Kimbe, Rabaul, Kokopo, Madang, Karkar, Lae, Goroko and Port Moresby.

‘The idea of buying back the business [Paradise Spices] was always there,’ Puritau tells Business Advantage PNG.

‘That’s the potential we see here – providing quality affordable and health beneficial products for all Papua New Guineans.’

‘We just waited for the right time financially. Since we are now backed by a government that’s fully supporting agriculture, it’s timely.’

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In with the new

James Rice, CEO of Paradise Foods [left] and Francis Wagaia, owner and Managing Director of Rhicornese [right], completing the sale of Paradise Spices. Credit: Rhicornese

Puritau says Paradise Foods did an excellent job in boosting sales and maintaining the assets. ‘Mechanically, the machinery was just as how I had sold it to Paradise Foods.’

‘Our plans for next year will see more investment in machinery to improve the current supply chain.’ GTM Distributors is bringing in machines for the downstream processing facility (DSPF) in Port Moresby.

In 2020, the company will be working on marketing, explains Puritau.

‘Next year, you will be seeing new products on the shelves. We are focusing on building the brand over the next five years and also recruiting more staff.’

Giving back

GTM Distributors, says Puritau, is committed to improving the ‘social, economic and environmental development in villages.’ His aim is not just achieving profitability. It is also to help alleviate poverty and build resilient livelihoods: ‘help communities receive better income to sustain their families.’

‘Value for money is what we are focused on and, for every K1 we spend, we’d like to see a farmer receive K5.’

‘Whether you are growing ginger at Telefomin or harvesting vanilla in Buin, GTM will be there to buy your produce to supply the market.’

Puritau says that the price per kilo returned to farmers can be increased because ‘we have a large demand in Australia, and Australia buys nearly all of the volume produced.’ He also expresses an interest in expanding into the European market.

‘Domestically, we will be producing affordable seasoning sachets for the middle and upper income earners. And that’s the potential we see here – providing quality affordable and health beneficial products for all Papua New Guineans.’


GTM Distribution’s warehouse in Kimber. Credit: Rhicornese

The biggest challenge for the spice business is logistics. Puritau says that a sister company LD Logistics, which has been delivering medical supplies throughout the country to the remotest parts of PNG, will be useful.

‘Whether you are growing ginger at Telefomin or harvesting vanilla in Buin, GTM will be there to buy your produce to supply the market.’

Puritau hopes the advent of digital technology will increase efficiencies for the 10,000 farmers who have registered with Paradise Spices.

‘We are aware of the hardships faced and the struggles within the supply chain.’

The company is working on its own integrated logistics supply chain system. It will use a mobile agri-databank called the FoT-RES (Farm of Things Rural Empowering System) app.

The app was designed by Puritau and will be used by farmers to set their farming targets for the next two years.

‘When I arrive at the farm, the farmer [will have] already packed according to the buyers’ quality preference,’ he says.

‘The greatest achievement will be to successfully set up a one-stop shop for farmers and consumers – and that’s the relationship we want to achieve.’


  1. Paul Gemba says

    Government need to support the Spice Industry now with DAL and Spice Industry Board to iron out funding and management issues and start going into all the Districts, carry out awareness, creat database, establish model farms, conduct trainings on propagation, field mgt, post harvest, quality control, downstream processing, marketing… You fly 1ton of vanilla out from Karamui and the same quantity for Coffee /Cocoa, which of the 3 will give you more returns in monetary terms? Is the Government ignoring this industry? This is a sad story for the rural farmers but we are confident that the Industry will be revived soon with farmers, Processors/Exporters and some Development Partners are pushing DAL/ Spice Industry Board to seriously support the Spice initiatives in PNG to the world standard. Yes, together we can resurrect the industry, bring in more foreign currency and improving life’s.
    Thank you.
    Paul Gemba.

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