Partnership to promote high quality coconut products, support rural farmers

PHAMA Plus Country Manager Sidney Suma (left) and Milne Bay Organics’ Rhona Conn after signing a partnership agreement aimed at promoting high-quality coconut products and support rural farmers.

Rural farmers and local businesses involved in Milne Bay’s coconut industry stand to benefit from a new partnership between Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus) and local SME business Milne Bay Organics (MBO).

The partnership aims to promote high-quality coconut products and support rural farmers and local businesses involved in the coconut industry.

MBO will procure and install 10 new and improved virgin coconut oil (VCO) machines as part of upgrading its current processing methodology, it will increase its supply base from rural coconut farmers and grow the volume of exportable coconut products produced locally.

MBO sources local raw material from 10 lead farms with family farmer networks ranging from 50 – 100 farmers located across four districts in Milne Bay Province that contribute to MBO’s virgin coconut oil production.

Constraints in the industry include a lack of infrastructure, access to transport and limited education and training in post-harvest processes for farmers and producers.

With Australia and New Zealand support through PHAMA Plus, MBO will conduct training on the harvesting cycle, nut quality and post-harvest handling and build MBO’s capacity as a key player in the coconut industry.

The investment will also strengthen the MBO brand, visibility and online presence by supporting a local website developer to update the MBO website.

The partnership also supports MBO’s mission of empowering youth in rural communities. Through the MBO founded “Youth Leading Positive Change” program, young leaders are trained and mentored in agricultural activities ranging from planting, crop maintenance, post-harvest processing and value-adding of resources in five primary cash commodities (coconut, coffee, rice, cocoa & vanilla).

“We believe that knowledge is power and the key to progress, so we provide these services free with the hope that what they learn from us, they take forward in their communities,” says Rhona Conn from MBO.


*For more information, please contact PHAMA Plus Country Manager (PNG) Sidney Suma on 

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