One Year Later: Reflecting on a Journey to the Land of the Unexpected

Papua New Guinea is a country close to the hearts of many of our Fairtrade ANZ staff, partners and customers. It’s a resilient nation in the heart of Melanesia with some of the best coffee in the world.  

Last year Nadia Bonner, Commercial Partnerships Manager @fairtradeanz visited Papua New Guinea and hosted five clients and photographer @joshgriggs_ to visit coffee farms and witness the power of Fairtrade for business and local communities. Although the trip wasn’t without its challenges, from multiple delayed flights to incredibly rough terrain and lost luggage.  

Nadia says “it was the best experience of her life, the people, the culture, and the country – all absolutely beautiful!”

They visited exporters in Goroka and then headed into the highlands in the region of Okapa, home to coffee co-operative HOAC (Highland Organic Agricultural Corporation), a coffee you’ll find in many of your local favorite blends at @kokakocoffee, @primaroastery & @goodfortunecoffeeco. They contributed to the coffee quality training program and helped pick the coffee (picked as a red cherry on a tree) as well as visiting several amazing projects funded by Fairtrade premium – beehives, maternity beds, water fountains, classrooms, coffee pulpers and roofing iron – the list goes on. 

The group got to witness the impact that Fairtrade and the premium that is paid has on the growers, communities and the coffee supply chain.  Once home Nadia received an email from one of the organisers from HOAC thanking the team for their visit and telling them about the impact their visit had on the people, hearing and seeing where their coffee ends up gave them a boost of motivation. Also, times had been tough over the last couple of years and their visit reunited the people of Okapa.   

“Your visit boosted the organisation’s morale and is one of its great highlights that will go down in HOAC’s history and this one is far more different from other visitors we used to have previously. The emotions and tears you shed gives us greater hope and courage to continue in this endeavor.”   Joram Yosa – HOAC 

Looking back a year later it almost feels surreal but the motivation and passion it provided lives on. It is so great to reminisce and remember the people; the hard work; and the challenges they continually face – the landslide is at the front of our minds (which took place in a neighbouring region to Okapa) and how devastating that is for the people. The people and coffee of PNG are world class and we will continue to advocate for them, Fairtrade and drink their delicious coffee! Please look for the Fairtrade mark when purchasing your coffee (or tea, chocolate, bananas or clothing/sheet) – it really does make a difference to people and planet and the future sustainability of these precious products we all rely on, on the daily. 



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