A ground-breaking investment into the Pacific Islands


rsz_tannaA significant milestone for the Pacific Islands has been achieved, with a A$ 656,000 impact investment into Vanuatu coffee producer, Tanna Coffee, writes Caleb Jarvis, Trade & Investment Commissioner, PTI Australia.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia played a pivotal role in connecting Anthea Smits and The Difference Incubator (TDi) team with Tanna Coffee to make this investment a reality.

Our one-on-one work with businesses in the Pacific Islands span years and in some instances decades. It’s exciting to see the groundwork we have cultivated in the Pacific Islands and Australia turning into major breakthroughs for the region and more importantly Pacific Island businesses.

Through an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sponsored programme, I knew that TDi was looking for investment opportunities in the Pacific Islands. Tanna Coffee was one of the Pacific Island businesses I identified as ready for investment. In 2015 I led an investment mission to the Pacific Islands introducing TDi to Terry Adlington and the Tanna Coffee team.

PTI Australia began working with Terry and Tanna Coffee in 2009 to develop their export market potential. With PTI support, Tanna Coffee has grown to a point where investment will not only provide a positive social and environmental impact but has the potential to deliver a market-rate return for the investor.

Tanna Coffee produces organic Arabica coffee. They purchase coffee parchment off 750 farmers on Tanna Island who economically support an estimated 5000 Ni-Vanuatu people. That’s nearly 16 per cent of Tanna’s population. It’s easy to see how this investment will stimulate real growth for Tanna’s economy, creating a ripple effect to positively impact the lives of Ni-Vanuatu people.

The investment through TDi will be used to develop 200 hectares of land and to increase Tanna Coffee’s production. The land will be distributed to 200 farming families in one-hectare plots to grow coffee plants. Terry estimates the income of farmers will increase by 20 per cent enabling them to better access education and healthcare for their families.

This approach to investment shows a real shift from ‘direct funding’ to ‘aid for trade’. I believe it’s an essential shift that will help create sustainable improvements to the livelihoods of Pacific Islanders. This impact investment is truly ground-breaking for Vanuatu and the Pacific Islands. It’s a positive step toward assisting Vanuatu in achieving long-term trade independence as well as a sustainable economy.

It’s heartening that private capital investors are seeing the investment potential of the Pacific Islands. Now that the Tanna Coffee has opened the door to impact investment in the Pacific, I’m excited to bring more investment opportunities into the Pacific. The potential flow-on effect it will have on Pacific Islanders is immense.