Innovative Agro aims to expand Papua New Guinea business into export market


A year after launching a producing fruit and vegetable operation serving the domestic market around Port Moresby, agricultural developer Innovative Agro Industry is looking at opportunities to export its Papua New Guinea produce to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

InnovativeAgro_webInnovative Agro Industry Ltd’s vision to develop a commercial farm near Port Moresby to help ease Papua New Guinea’s reliance on imported fresh food has come to fruition in its first year as a producing operation.

The company, which is backed by Israel’s LR Group, has been producing large quantities of fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums and lettuces, at the Nine Mile farm for the PNG market since January last year.

Innovative Agro now plans to use the 11-hectare farm, developed in partnership with the Jesus Christ Halfway House and Western Highlands Development Corporation at Nine Mile, as the foundation for additional agricultural projects around PNG.

Game changer

Innovative Agro's Robert Igaro.

Innovative Agro’s Robert Igaro.

Director Robert Igaro told Business Advantage PNG that Innovative Agro was on track to become an established, diversified agricultural company that would engage in ‘deep impact and game changing agro-industry projects’ over the next five years in PNG.

‘We will be involved in various locations in PNG—the Highlands, coastal areas, and be able to demonstrate the value that our technology can provide,’ Igaro said.

The company uses advanced technology for PNG farming conditions, including a direct irrigation system at its Nine Mile farm, where the fruit and vegetables are grown in materials that feed the roots system with the necessary nutrients in a controlled environment.

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Export opportunities

Innovative Agro has established itself as a leading player in the PNG fruit and vegetable market by providing high quality, import replacement produce.

Igaro said Innovative Agro also has the potential to grow its capacity to target markets in the broader Asia-Pacific region as future projects around PNG develop.

‘As a start-up, obviously you start off looking at the domestic market but you don’t rule that [export market] out. You need to establish locally and at the same time look out for export markets,’ Igaro explained.

Agriculture is perceived as a high-risk sector—we wish to be able to mitigate the risk so that we can launch projects, and local people can see that it is possible to establish competitiveness domestically, as well as export agro industries

When considering export markets that Innovative Agro could target, Igaro pointed to other emerging markets in the region, such as Indonesia, one of South-East Asia’s fastest growing economies.

‘I understand that within the region, Indonesia, there is a significant market made up of a significantly affluent population. The question is: can we provide agro products at competitive prices into Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Guam, if possible,’ Igaro said.

‘We believe there is significant potential, but we haven’t got beyond establishing ourselves at project level.’

Stronger mindset

Igaro said it was important that the agricultural industry in PNG continued to establish a mindset that it was possible to develop successful projects in the country without requiring government assistance.

The Innovative Agro operation near Port Moresby. Credit: Innovative Agro.

The Innovative Agro operation near Port Moresby. Credit: Innovative Agro.

‘Agriculture is perceived as a high-risk sector—we wish to be able to mitigate the risk so that we can launch projects, and local people can see that it is possible to establish competitiveness domestically, as well as export agro industries,’ Igaro said.

Innovative Agro is already trialling exports of tomatoes and lettuce to Fiji’s McDonalds in Nadi. It’s the first time fresh vegetables have been exported from PNG.

Igaro said Innovative Agro hoped to establish partnerships with major financial institutions in PNG to help further the development of its projects.

‘With the challenges in PNG, you have to look at all possibilities, but we have to build our case on commercial viability and sustainability,’ he said.

Innovative Agro employs around 100 people at the Nine Mile farm, most of whom are Papua New Guinean women from nearby settlements. The company also produces about 10,000 eggs a day at a farm at Koroba in Hela Province.


  1. Jerome Aiake says

    My name is Jerome Aiake I am a recent graduate from Divine Word University in Madang, PNG with a Bachelor of Arts in PNG Studies and International Relations. I am writing on behalf of my people from the Labuta Ward 14 of Labuta Local Level Government in the Nawaeb District of Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea. The seven villages that make up the ward area with consultation with the land owners have agreed to develop a coffee estate in their area with the land already provided. I am now working on collecting the coffee data in the area to make submission to the government to support this initiative. I believe your company is specialized in such agricultural development activities. The area is inaccessible by road and people find it difficult to sell their coffee and as thus proposed the idea. The local MP is working in building a road for the people in our area. Our coffee has for seasons of fruiting which is very rare where coffee produces once or twice a year. Coffee is the only source of income for our us. All the seven villages in our ward are coffee producing villages. Apart from our villages the entire District is a coffee producing District. My purpose of writing is to get your interest in helping to be the investor that will build the coffee estate. Please consult me through my email for further details.

  2. Leo Laki says

    I’m am interested in doing similar project growing cocoa, coffee, vanilla and grains. It can be extended to include poultry and pigerry farms. I’m the Managing Director of a local landowner company. We have over 36000 hectares of land in the process of LFA timber rights in the WNB and have excess of funds as seed capital. I should call into your office to further discuss this interest.

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