Brewing a better future for PNG women in coffee: PNG WICA signs new partnership with PHAMA Plus
The Papua New Guinea Women in Coffee Association (WICA) has entered into a new partnership agreement that will continue strengthening the vital role of women in PNG’s reinvigorated coffee industry.
WICA has renewed its partnership with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA) to pave a path towards a vibrant and inclusive coffee industry with sustainable growth and new market opportunities.
According to WICA Co-Founder and Executive Director, Catherine Pianga, the collaboration, supported by Australia and New Zealand, builds on previous support by PHAMA Plus to help grow and develop the association as an effective representative for the different women coffee groups and farmers in the country.
“Strategic partnerships such as our long standing one with PHAMA Plus helps PNG WICA support a conducive environment for women and families in the PNG coffee value chain to contribute meaningfully to economic growth and change,” Ms Pianga said.
PHAMA Plus entered its first partnership with WICA in August 2020 which achieved two main objectives: (i) developing and launching a five-year (2021-2025) Strategic Plan and (ii) establishing WICA’s affiliation to the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA).
“The launch of the WICA Strategic Plan and WICA’s membership to IWCA paves the way for realising our shared objectives to improve quality of coffee production by women through the farmer cupping training, support communications and enhance PNG WICA’s profile in the coffee sector, and promote the branding and sales of coffee under WICA’s platform,” Ms Pianga added.
It is anticipated that WICA, with continued technical assistance from PHAMA Plus, will also strengthen its representation and connection with other partners such as government, development agencies, the private sector, and institutions such as Women in Agriculture in PNG and IWCA.
“Under this partnership, PHAMA Plus will assist WICA to deliver key elements of the Strategic Plan to help members become equal players in the PNG coffee industry. We will work together to enhance the participation of, and benefits flowing to, farmers, especially women and youth, in the coffee value chain,” PHAMA Plus National Facilitator Tamar Amean said.
The renewed partnership, Mrs Amean said, will focus on rolling out farmer cherry processing and cupping training; supporting WICA members to improve their post-harvest processing coffee cupping knowledge and barista skills; as well as establishing links with buyers in specialty markets and promoting PNG coffee in alternative markets, supported by the affiliation with IWCA.
PNG WICA first came together as a group driven by similar ideals in 2012 with an inaugural conference in Goroka. The association was formally established in 2016 and, ever since, has conducted meetings and program activities supporting PNG women’s empowerment.
This partnership between WICA and Phama Plus is further strengthened by their relationship with PNG Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd which shares the program’s goal of increasing the volume and quality of PNG coffee exports to high-value specialty international markets.