Copra plantations in New Guinea

Copra Plantations in New Guinea have been cultivated since the late 19th century. Originally established by German colonialists, they were superseded by Australian interests following World War II.

Early colonialists

Villagers toil in the copra plantations of Australia’s Trust Territory of Papua New Guinea, 1948. National Archives of Australia

In 1884, German settlers arrived in eastern New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea), and planted Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) for the production of copra, the dried flesh of the coconut. They established the colony of German New Guinea in the north eastern quarter of the island and numerous coconut plantations around coastal areas.

The coconut industry, which has a long and colourful history in coastal areas of Papua New Guinea. Copra plantations in PNG have been cultivated since the late 19th century.
Originally established by German colonialists, they were superseded by Australian interests following World War II.

In 1884, German settlers arrived in eastern New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea), and planted coconut palms for the production of copra, the dried flesh of the coconut,” according to Wikipedia. They established the colony of German New Guinea in the north eastern quarter of the island and numerous coconut plantations around coastal areas. They were afraid of venturing too far inland. To counter the growing German presence in the region, the Australian state of Queensland established the Territory of Papua as a de facto possession covering approximately the south east third of the island.

Both the Queensland and German plantations thrived, providing opulent living conditions for the expatriates. Grand mansions were built on the plantations, complete with luxury furnishings. Much of the labour was performed by New Guinea natives. The towns of Port Moresby and Rabaul were founded as a result of the economic activity surrounding the plantations.

Copra Marketing Board to Kokonas Indastri Koporesen

The Kokonas Indastri Koporesen of PNG is a statutory regulatory institution for the coconut industry in PNG. Prior to the establishment of the KIK, the Copra Marketing Board (CMB) of PNG controlled all copra trading from 1957 to 2001.

The passage of the Kokonas Indastri Koporesen Act 2002 (KIK Act 2002) led to the establishment of KIK to:

1. Control and regulate the production, processing, marketing and export of coconut product; and
2. Promote the investment in and consumption and export of coconut products; and
3. By itself or in co-operation with other persons or bodies, to promote or engage in research and development programmes for the benefit of the coconut industry; and
4. Promote or engage in downstream processing of coconut products by itself or in co-operation with other persons or bodies for the benefit of the coconut industry; and
5. Engage in extension services and related programmes by itself or in co-operation with other persons or bodies for the benefit of the coconut industry; and
6. Compile statistical data on production, imports and exports of coconut products and to be familiar with production trends throughout the country and provinces and internationally; and
7. Grant licences and registrations; and
8. Keep a register of licences and registrations; and
9. Formulate a register of coconut products grading systems for each of the coconut products; and
10. When required by the Minister, to act as an agent for. And to carry out the obligations of the State in international forums or agreements relating to coconut or coconut products; and
11. Provide policy advice to the Government concerning coconut industry matters.

Legislative changes as stipulated in the KIK Act 2002 enabled the deregulation of copra marketing and promotion of downstream processing of other HCVPs in PNG. The deregulation of copra marketing allowed for more private buyers and exporters to enter the market thus providing more competition and relatively better prices than the CMB of the past.

KOKONAS INDASTRI KOPORESEN