Entrepreneurs: Max Puritau, Paradise Spices


Managing generational change is a big challenge for any business. Kevin McQuillan speaks with 26-year-old Max Puritau, who has taken over his parents’ business, Paradise Spices, and is seeing exports soaring.

Max Puritau (far right) and his father Mickey (centre) welcome former Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish, Australian Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop and Australian Federal MP Jane Prentice to Paradise Spices.

Max Puritau (far right) and his father Mickey (centre) welcome former Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish, Australian Opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop and Australian Federal MP Jane Prentice to Paradise Spices.

Paradise Spices has been a leading processor and exporter of spices and vanilla products, coffee and cocoa since 1998.

About 60% of its products are sold offshore, according to 26-year old Max Puritau, who bought out 50% of the company from his father, Mickey, in 2012. The company remains a family affair: his mother, Alu Puritau, still retains a 50% shareholding, while Max’s fiancée, Steffi Temelloso, is both operations manager and sales and marketing manager.

Max tells Business Advantage PNG he is taking a new approach to the company.

‘The basic idea of the whole business now is to try and create new products using PNG-grown crops and keep the consistencies flowing.’

‘Currently, we are buying and selling vanilla beans, bird’s eye [or Thai] chilli, galip nuts, white pepper, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cocoa nibs, ginger, cinnamon, and virgin coconut oil.

‘We also have a new range of purified water in 500ml bottles and the vanilla extract.’

Story continues after advertisment...

Vanilla base

The humble vanilla bean is the basis of the company’s income, now sitting between US$500,000 and US$700,000 per annum.

‘Vanilla bean has been our main export product until now,’ says Max. ‘In the next six months, you’ll find vanilla extracts, one of our new products, becoming the top product.’

Vanilla extract is a formulated product made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water.

But accessing the vanilla bean is costly and can be problematic. Paradise Spices sources its beans from about 7,000 growers in 12 PNG provinces, but the beans have to be airfreighted into its processing factory in Port Moresby.

‘Bougainville and Rigo produce some of the finest vanilla beans,’ says Max.

‘Farmers are keen to know what is happening in the outside world, in terms of market updates, and how they fit into the exporting side of the business.’

‘The good thing about Bougainvilleans is that they are technical people and when it comes to the critical stage of curing vanilla beans, they really know how to cure vanilla beans.

‘Buyers want consistency,’ he says, ‘and Bougainvilleans provide that consistency. We just have to work with them (farmers).’

International buyers

In early May, a group of buyers flew in from New Zealand and were so impressed with Paradise’s vanilla products, they placed an order for 100 kilograms of beans and 1,000 litres of extract per month for a supermarket chain—an order Max says he will find ‘tough to handle’.

‘It’s not easy just to call a farmer and ask him for 100 kilos and get it the following week. You have to source out vanilla from many different areas.’

Max says he’ll have to travel to as many as 10 villages to get that amount of bean.

A vanilla bean farmer  tests his product

A vanilla bean farmer tests his product. Source: Paradise Spices

To help farmers with the initial cost of freight, Paradise Spices give suppliers a rebate for the first consignment.

‘So with the first load of beans, we pay for the freight and the beans. Once that payment comes through, we tell them they will have to pay for the next consignment.’

Supporting growers

Max also wants to develop the relationship between Paradise Spices and its growers. His father, Mickey, raised the initial capital for the company by running training courses on how to grow vanilla beans. It’s a tradition Max regards as critical for future business.

‘Farmers are keen to know what is happening in the outside world, in terms of market updates, and how they fit into the exporting side of the business.’

Paradise Spices is currently running a one-year program to develop agriculture and income sustainability in Central Province’s Rigo District. It has trained 25 extension officers in 20 different villages with the goal of supplying CPL Group’s Stop N Shop supermarkets with fresh produce.

‘It’s the supply chain that we want to make them aware of: how it forms, how the process works and how we play our role. And to make them aware that their incomes will only increase if the product becomes valuable to the buyers,’ says Puritau.

Industry backing

Max agrees with the Institute of National Affairs’ Paul Barker, who has called on the national government to boost its support for agriculture and to improve infrastructure, particularly roads. But he is full of praise for the PNG Spice Board and its CEO Michael Waisimei and the support it gives in promoting Paradise’s products. He also says the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry has supported the business strongly.

It is this vital combination of industry support and support for growers that will underpin Puritau’s future success.

Kevin McQuillan is Editor at Business Advantage PNG.


  1. Rev.Jeffrey Gai says

    Hi am Rev. Jeffrey Gaim want to sel my vanilla green beans, how much would it cost for per Kim please contact me my whatsapp 73142854, am from rigo koiari.

  2. Herry Yembal Mek says

    Hi I am negotiating with vanilla growers in Madang to supply in Port Moresby, any buyers in Port Moresby please contact through my email address herrymek58@gmail.com or my Digicel number 71841858

  3. Rudolph Torie says

    Hi, we have fresh root turmeric to sell, from sogeri, please do let me know if you’re interested in buying..I can be contacted through my number, 7533 6508 or email through torier7@gmail.com

    Rudolph Torie
    Sogeri, Owens Corner RD

  4. Josephine says

    Hi I’m currently looking for vanilla buyers and reading through your business profile shows you do buy vanilla beans so if you are interested then call me on my mobile number 71778969 or email me through josephinetariwani@gmail.com


  5. Julia Rajaonarison says

    Thank you for your message
    The price C FR / kg vanilla bean black Gourmet 16cm and more 495 USD .
    Available stock 500 kg
    Offer valid until June 10 except sale in the meantime
    Best regards
    Julson et Julia

  6. Nickolas Kalta says

    Nickolas says
    Hi anyone interested in buying dried A grade vanilla than call me 72933235 or email me nickolas.kaltal@gmail.com

  7. Lawrence says

    Enquiring for possible nutmeg buyers, if interested please contact me via lboi20111987@gmail.com

  8. Lawrence says

    Seeking possible buyers for nutmeg. Thankyou

  9. Jaconia Wakak says

    Any buyers available please do contact me if you`re interested to buy vanilla beans, i currently have a total of almost 10kg of vanila beans at hand. Prefared price is K 1000.00/Kg, if interested contact me on the following:
    Phone: 675 74252621
    Email: jaconiawakak@gmail.com

  10. Hello, Max. My name is Angeline Kundi. I once contacted you regarding vanilla price. nI have quality A grade planifolia beans from the bush of Madang Province. I am enquiring to know your price per Kg. Please email me on angiekay105@gmail.com or call me on 74705637

    • Cayleb Bikambo says

      Hello Max

      We are local farmers here at Nuku in West Sepek Province. We brought in some (15kilos) into POM to sell off our dried Vanilla beans. We are looking for a good trading market price of our beans so we can supply around 300kg weekly and about 2tonnes – 5tonnes monthly. Can you kindly contact us on 71847272(WhatsApp) / 75273327 or we can also be reached on email:caylebb.bikambo@gmail.com

      Awaiting your timely response.

      Kind regards,

      Cayleb Bikambo (Mr)

  11. James Duks says

    Have over 30kg A grade planifolia beans. Contact me on 72582150 or jamesbduks@gmail.com

  12. Tonny.Mwayawa says

    Hi Mickey and Max got some vanilla here and want to sell where is your office location in Pom

  13. Gaius Maliaki says

    I’m looking a PNG or overseas brokers who can help me with his/her market overseas for the purchase of premium Madagascar gourmet vanilla. 15-20cm length vanilla beans. My client can supply 25 tonne per month, acceptable minimum supply is 5 tonne. Asking price : USD 600 to 700 per kg. For your troubles a 1% non-negotiable commission is offered. Payment Terms: Confirmed Letter of Credit. I can be reached on E: gaius_maliaki@yahoo.com or M: +675 74294068

  14. lenon mekyawer says

    hi Barara if you want to buy are vanilla from farmers in Drekikier in east Sepik province do call me on #70095411 by PrstLenon mekyawer

  15. Hi Max,
    There is a Ginger farmer at Sogeri who is looking for a buyer. Is there anyone interested in buying Sogeri ginger?
    Please contact me on email: marymuru.mistygirl7@gmail.com

  16. Hi I am a locall vanilla farmer in Eastern Highlands Providence. I now harvesting my beans and getting it dried up. I am looking for a buyer. I am interested in knowing your price for vanilla per kilo and also other prices you offer for vanilla beans. Here is my email address : SenoirSupervisor@lfflpng.com.

  17. nua tony says

    Hi am very interested to supply vanilla beans to you so if it’s okay please contact on my phone or email me..
    Ph# 71890849
    Email.. nuatzhires186@gmail.com

  18. Teddy.Wallangas says

    Any body interested in buying vanilla beans from Maprik ,ESP.at the current world price market can me 73261565.

  19. As an agriculturist I have been cultivating vanilla crops and working closely with vanilla farmers in villages in Maprik. Through sharing ideas, skills, knowledge and experience in all aspects of vanilla I discovered that farmers urgently need a good market or buyer to sell their produce. Therefore I organised my family members and we registered our company as Mandi Agriculture Commodities Ltd. Currently we are seeking possible dry vanilla beans buyers to contract us to supply dry vanilla beans. Interested buyers please contact me on mobile +675 73727531 or email address bialbarnabas@gmail.com

    Barnabas Bial

  20. Jerome Simon says

    I have a plantation of cinnamon tree spice to be harvested, please anyone interested to buy can email me on my email address jerome.simon02@gmail.com or contact me on this phone number (675) 79237714.

  21. Dennis Tauvasa says

    I have 20kgs of A grade vanilla beans to sell. Interested buyers in Port Moresby only can email me: dwtauvasa@gmail.com

  22. dulcie kasa says

    Hi I am interested to sell vanilla beans to you here in pom. Pls let me know if you are buying beans here in pom.

  23. ignas YANAM says

    To Max Puritau
    How much are you offering for a Kilo of A grade vanilla beans?

    • Alan Pyar says

      Hi Ignas
      I am Alan, currently sourcing vanilla pods from PNG for a large US client. I would be glad to hear from you, on product/ quality/ quantity available and production schedule. Please reach me out afsim2018@gmail.com; or leave a HP so I could call you.
      Best, Alan

  24. Judith Fowlds says

    Hi Max
    When in New Guinea, I bought a packet of your Wild Ginger. I would like to buy more of these and also try your turmeric. I live in Melbourne, Australia. How/where can I purchase your spices?
    Regards Judith

  25. Horim Lawrence Piamia says

    Hello Max Puritau,
    I’am a vanila grower in East New Britain and I’m also interested in supplying vanilla beans to you. If you are interested please let me know.

    Horim L. Piamia
    Tokua Airport – ENBP

  26. Bernadette Sam says

    Hi.Iam not a farmer, but iam so much interested in the vanilla market.

    Just seeking help or advice from you people.
    I want to buy vanilla beans from the local buyers and sell them to you at your given price.

  27. We buy Vanilla Tahiti dried Grade A long 15 cm up, moisture content 20%, Can you supply per month 5 ton, if you are interested please contact me : Phone +62 8232 5478 456 whatsapp : +62 899 9272 456

  28. Scott Masar says

    I am very much interested has a member to vanilla cooperative society in West Sepik, we produces and supply more than 200-500 kilos of vanilla beans to New zealand. From my observation, we supplied more and received less. I am looking for a buyer to assist my people in the remote area of west sepik especially in Nuku.


      I am interested in supporting you to purchase Vanilla beans.
      Please advise if you are interested?



      • To Dennis
        I am interested to purchase Vanilla beans. Please information your products vanilla bean to me.
        Vanilla requirements:
        1. length of 20 cm Up
        2. Dry 2 5 – 10%
        3. Not moldy.
        4. black Colour and scent

        Please Call my Contact
        Phone +62 8232 5478 456
        Whatsapp +62 899 9272 456

      • Anna Sani says


        How much would you offer to buy in kilogram?

    • Alan Pyar says

      I am Alan , I am sourcing valilla pods for a major player in the US. are you still active in the business? I would be glad to get your feedback and indication on prodcution status.
      Thanks. You can reach me out at afsim2018@gmail.com.

  29. Matt Buka says

    Hi Max! You were my neighbour at East Boroko a few years ago.

    I have an individual seeking help to export Turmeric overseas.

    Can you be of any help?


    • Sakarias Ikio says

      Matt Buka.

      I have nothing to do with this. I can’t help you, only Max can but I really want to know where you are based, what spices are you going into and what is your current production stage in terms of kilos every month on each particular crop.

      Thanks. Sakarias Ikio
      PNG Spices Industry Development Program (PNGSIDPD0

    • Max Puritau says

      Hey Matt,

      How are you doing? Sorry for the late response but please email me at mjpuritau@gmail.com and we can continue discussions.

      market access is strong now and i am certain we can assist somewhere.


  30. Max/Miky Puritau,
    We are doing into spices production in Eastern Highlands under a new program. Currently we have chili products ready to be sold out. Please give us your contect, especially digicel number for us to contect you regularly in order for us to sell our products to you.
    Please contact me on digicel mobile number: 73761799

    • Max Puritau says

      Hi Sakarias,

      I know this email mean present state – but thank you for the chillis supplied. All chilli went to Australia.


  31. There is a vanilla boom in Maprik District, East Sepik Province. Vanilla farmers have hu
    ge quality of vanilla to be exported. We request if you could buy our vanilla.

  32. cecil Auti says

    Requesting if you provide more information on how we can be farmers to supply vanilla beans.

  33. As the General Manager of Lihir Business Services , i would be very much interested in developing a growers co-operative for landowners here on Lihir Island and possibly on some of the outer island.

    • Please contact us worldwide.krish@gmail.com

    • Max Puritau says

      Hi John,
      Trust you are well.

      I know my response is way over-due but i’d like to say thank you for the work we collaborated in accomplishing at LIHIR. I am still in contact with the guys there and hopefully the mine can support the farmers directly.


  34. christine kombangil says

    Requesting if your company is buying cardamon. Thankyou

Leave a Reply