Mainland Holdings: A diversified business with bite


One of Papua New Guinea’s more colourful enterprises, Mainland Holdings, operates the world’s largest saltwater crocodile farm. But, as Business Advantage discovered on a recent visit to its Lae base, that is just one business unit in a rapidly-increasing portfolio.

The Mainland saltwater crocodile farm is the world's largest

The Mainland saltwater crocodile farm is the world’s largest

Looking at Mainland Holdings today, it’s hard to believe that this company began as a coffee mill owned by villagers from Morobe and Oro Provinces. These days, the company has seven diversified yet complementary divisions, employs over 2000 staff and had a group turnover of over K330 million (US$113 million) in 2007.

What hasn’t changed is the ownership by shareholders from rural villages and the Group’s commitment to working with these rural communities.

Mainland Holdings was born in 1971 with the purchase of the Lae Coffee Mill. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the dividends from the company were re-invested in complementary businesses, resulting in the diversified but synergized company structure seen today.

In 2004, international firm Booker Tate was appointed as corporate managers of the company and, in 2006, a coffee division was re-established to strengthen traditional ties to shareholders. In 2006, the opportunity to acquire Niugini Coffee Tea and Spice arose and now Mainland’s Coffee division is the third-largest PNG coffee exporter. By providing support for shareholders to purchase and deliver coffee for sale to Mainland, the company supports the local communities while creating a huge opportunity for expansion.

Mainland Coffee is also working with industry body the Coffee Industry Corporation to help improve small farmers’ incomes through training programs and ‘Fair Trade’ schemes.

To complement the Coffee Division, another subsidiary, Moale Trading, operates retail stores at both 5 Mile and 40 Mile, supplying trading goods to the agriculture-based communities.

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Aside from coffee, Mainland has six other divisions, the largest of which is Tablebirds, which produces ‘3 Roses’ flour at its own mill close to Lae and also supplies over 65% of PNG’s fresh and frozen chicken market. It sells specially-formulated chicken feed and day-old chicks for rearing in the local communities, many of which are subsequently re-sold to Tablebirds when grown. Small farmer broiler chicken production represents over 40% of Tablebirds’ total frozen meat production.

The Mainland Crocodile Farm is the world’s largest saltwater crocodile farm with over 40,000 crocodiles. While renowned for exporting the highest quality skins to top fashion designers and supplying crocodile meat to PNG supermarkets, Mainland Crocodile Farm is also actively involved in the Sepik Conservation Program and injects more than K100,000 into this program each year.

Mainland also owns ABCO Transport, which handles the transport and logistics of the group and commercial customers, as well as a controlling stake in Territory Packaging. Meanwhile, Huon Electrical is a wholly-owned division. These businesses provide further synergies for the group, through their respective packaging and equipment servicing activities. Territory Packaging also exports regionally.

With a corporate culture based on a triple bottom line of people, profit and excellence and with a focus on engaging with rural communities, this 100% PNG-owned business has set a course for continued success and expansion.


  1. Wally Alu says

    Hi my name is Lucas Hilford Bovoru,I support my friend Daniel Apina Hirongopa that many people from Oro never get any benefit, my grand father is about to die and all so my father is growing old so I asked the company must give shares to the people of Oro before they die, my grand father is one of the member of Orokaiva Coffee Growers Society (OCGS) at Saiho station.(Sakita Da)

  2. Wayne Reeves says

    Our business is needing a regular supply of crocodile for our pet meat business.
    Will buy what ever you can supply.
    Hind legs back legs or whole skined frames or mince.
    Please contact me on 0428525543

  3. Daniel Apina Hirongopa says

    As we all know and understand that Mainland Holdings successes over the years have been the results of simple coffee farmers from Morobe and Oro Provinces. How on earth the company only operates and makes its presence felt in Morobe Province and not in Oro Province where the bulk of the initial shareholders come from. The people of Oro has never benefited from Mainland Holdings in terms of Employment and Spin-Off benefits. My late father was a shareholder and I was a kid where I use to accompanied my father to sell our coffee beans to Orokaiva Coffee Growers Society (OCGS) at Saiho station. Can the company set up a commercial farm in Oro as complementary to Lae operation?. I am now a qualified Agric- Officer based in DAL HQ, Waigani and am determine to revisit the subject which have been forgotten for many years.

  4. Hello.

    I am thrilled to see the by products made frm crcodle skin, they include wallets,belts, key tags etc – did not know such an industry existed inPNG until only recently when I was at the
    NARI Agriculture Show at Bubia.

    The belts and wallets made from corcodile skin if it is promoted and marketed & promoted aggrfessively in the media indusdtry, Mainland Holdings stands to make heaps –
    Akubra Hats and Stockman work boots maded of croicodeile skin would not be a bad idea .

    Congratulations Mainland for this innovation.


    John Tokunai

  5. Glenda Supring says

    I have crocodile skin back here in Wewak and would like to sell or be an Agent.

    Please cantact me if interested.

    Glenda Supring
    Mobile No. 72818999

  6. I was wondering if the company runs small training programs or work shops for villagers involved in producing crocodile skins. If they are purchasing from rural suppliers then they might want to educate them to produce quality skins for export.

  7. How much are you people buying baby crocs. I had one which is 83cm long and 12 cm in diameter.
    I caught this baby croc at Labu Lake on my return to Lae this morning.

  8. moho yasona says

    hi mainland grandpa who is 82 yrs now said he has bought 2 shares with mainland holderings when it was first known as F & D ‘s when the company initially started.he has he’s copies with him..but he’s not receiving any updates about his shares now..who should i see to equire?? thnks myasona

  9. Hi Mainland Holdings,
    I have tried some years with out success on obtaining a list of names for the former share holders from Aseki when the company was buying parchment coffee. I was referred to check the names at the district office in Menyamya but with out success and learnt some time that it was been managed by someone who has not been selling coffee that time.
    My father has passed away but if a name list is somewhere, could we have information to so that I could deal with people who are not representing the growers and are wrongfully benefiting from the dividends.
    Any information won’t be made public.

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