Plan to boost gender equality, prosperity for women in coffee

PNG WICA Representatives holding copies of the five-year Strategic Plan.

“The role of women in PNG’s coffee industry is being strengthened through the new PNG Women in Coffee Association (WICA) Strategic Plan 2021-2025, launched by WICA in May 2021. The five-year Strategic Plan captures the economic vision and goal of women as active participants in and beneficiaries of the male-dominated coffee industry.

Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program, supported by Australia and New Zealand, has been working with WICA towards building a vibrant and inclusive coffee industry with sustainable growth and new market opportunities.

The WICA Strategic Plan is an important milestone. It will provide a platform for women to have a strong voice in the industry through the various stages of the supply and value chain of coffee.

Catherine Pianga, Executive Officer, WICA Secretariat said: “The direct involvement of PHAMA Plus in WICA’s growth and development, through this planning process is a demonstration of the Australian Government’s confidence in the capability of women as a catalyst for lasting, sustainable change.”

More than half of the 400,000 smallholder coffee farmers in PNG are women, but their contribution remains undervalued. Women in the PNG coffee industry are among the world’s most resilient players in the global market. Not only do they live in a geographically challenging country, but they are adversely impacted by cultural practices that hinder their productivity in all facets of their livelihood.

PHAMA Plus Senior National Facilitator Alex Kerangpuna (right) officially hands over the five-year Strategic Plan to PNG Women in Coffee Association (WICA) representatives, Ms Sallyn Lomutopa (left) and Ms Catherine Pianga.

Women play a key role in the tasks that impact coffee quality, including cherry picking and grading.

There are significant opportunities for PNG’s coffee industry, although many challenges remain. WICA has over 6,000 members and its vision is outlined in the Strategic Plan. The beneficiaries of the Strategic Plan include key economic and agricultural agencies, development partners and the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).

The following key objectives support six overarching program areas in the Strategic Plan:

  • productivity improvement: enhancing the sustainable productivity of women farmers;
  • scaling and sustainable production: optimal production of coffee by women;
  • marketing: increasing market share, value add and diversification for women;
  • information technology and communication management: improving awareness, effectiveness and continuous learning;
  • regulatory and policy environment: building influence to create an enabling environment for women farmers; and
  • capacity building of WICA: strengthening governance and responsiveness.

PHAMA Plus is pleased to support WICA in promoting and enhancing the role of women in the PNG coffee industry, in line with the Gender Equality, Disability, Social Inclusion (GEDSI) agenda.

This initiative is further strengthened by the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by PHAMA Plus with PNG CIC and Kosem Ltd, which align with PHAMA Plus’s goal of increasing the volume and quality of PNG coffee exports to high-value specialty international markets.


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

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