ITC impact: Papua New Guinea

26 January 2015
ITC News
Success in a cup: first woman coffee exporter in PNG secures premium price from major international buyer

Coffee farmer Marey Yogiyo has been selling coffee to buyers in her native Papua New Guinea for 16 years. Earlier this year, she became the first ever woman in the coffee sector to receive an export licence – and promptly saw the price she received rise 63% above the local rate.

Olam International, one of the world’s leading agribusiness companies, bought 60 bags of coffee from her company for US$18,000.

‘It’s real. I am now an exporter,’ said the 56-year-old mother of five, who lives in the Eastern Highlands Province, the centre of the country’s coffee production industry.

Yogiyo’s export success appears set to continue: Olam is considering an even bigger purchase in 2015.

Before she could sell abroad, however, Yogiyo needed a permit, not to mention clients. In 2014, she got both. In July, her company, Yogiyo Coffee Ltd, became the first women-owned coffee company in the country to receive a government licence to export. The first bags of Bauka Blue coffee were shipped to the United States shortly after. ‘After ten years of consistently working on perfecting the quality and looking for markets, the first order from Olam re-energized Bauka Women Coffee to see it through the next ten years’, she said.

With ITC to international markets Yogiyo made the initial contact with her new buyers at a buyer mentor group organized by ITC and the International Women Coffee Alliance (IWCA) on the margins of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference in Seattle in April 2014. The training provided participants with knowledge and skills to meet the demands of international buyers, enabling them to position their coffee to be more competitive in international markets and fetch higher prices. Following her return, ITC liaised with the Papua New Guinea Investment Promotion Agency to facilitate the issuance of her export licence.

Olam International is one of the world’s largest food buyers, with annual sales of US$15 billion and operations in 65 countries. On its website for industrial buyers, Olam emphasizes Yogio’s story and vision for creating a distinctive product. ‘She founded the group to encourage women to make coffee a way of life so that they can support themselves and their families,’ the site says.

Empowered women powering trade Marey Yogiyo’s sales to Olam represent a significant achievement for women coffee producers in Papua New Guinea, said Vanessa Erogbogbo, who manages ITC’s Women and Trade
Programme. This sales also benefit other women members of the Bauka Women Coffee farmers
group. ‘Direct exports provide greater influence over markets and increase the income of rural coffee growers significantly,’ Erogbogbo said.

Yogiyo, who herself has a mid-size farm with 20 acres of coffee, will also buy coffee from nine other farmers as of the coffee year 2015. She hopes to build an export business supporting many of the 645 coffee growing households in the area. ‘This is a great avenue to support women in coffee groups, maximizing their net return on their coffee,’ she said.

Papua New Guinea’s coffee, while making up only 1% of global production, is known in specialty coffee circles for a unique aura and for the brightness and complexity of its flavours. The Aiyura Valley, where Bauka Women Coffee is situated, first saw coffee grown in the 1940s; its plantations and smallholder gardens are known for the varied berry and citrus flavours of the coffee they produce.

Bauka Women Coffee has linked up with another women’s cooperative to reopen a longshuttered coffee processing mill in 2015.

Yogiyo predicts more certificates and increased exports to come. ‘2015 will be an exciting year for Bauka Women Coffee and we are looking forward to that.’

Coffee and women ITC and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) partner worldwide to increase
the economic empowerment of women by developing specialty brands and selling them to international buyers.


  • Burundi: The Burundi chapter of the IWCA, established with the support of ITC, has developed productivity training and established a profit sharing scheme amongst its members for sales made to specialty coffee buyers. The group consistently wins awards for high quality coffee in the annual Burundi Cup of Excellence competition.
  • Tanzania: The Tanzanian chapter of the IWCA was established in April 2013 and is already representing thousands of women producers, processors and exporters across the country. ITC is assisting the group in strategy development and the identification of market linkages.
  • Ethiopia: ITC is supporting women-owned green coffee exporters in establishing a chapter of the IWCA in Ethiopia.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: The DRC chapter of the IWCA was officially launched in February 2014 at the African Fine Coffees Association conference in Burundi, and is registered in Kinshasa as a non-governmental organization.
  • Rwanda: ITC is assisting the Rwanda chapter of the IWCA to strengthen its activities, in order to provide members training and to connect them with specialty coffee buyers.