Amruqa (Pacific Spices/Follywell #6)


Amruqa was developed in 1997 by Theresa Arek and Ian Sexton. The company is a real world example of the principles of the Heritable Innovation Trust in action. The majority of the practices of the company are in alignment with maintaining the sanctity of the heritable knowledge and upholding the requirements of the Trust.

Instead of going into the community and changing its structure, Amruqa adapts itself to the existing constructs. The people work within a system with which they are comfortable and know very well resulting in smoother, more productive business transactions. To insure that their business practices are working in alignment with the existing structure, Amruqa’s principals including Arek’s daughter, Sharmayne, interact with and live in the villages to acquire a deeper understanding of the communities and their customs. Because she knows these communities inside and out, Sharmayne has become a key factor in Amruqa's success. This dynamic enables the communities to remain a key part of the process because there is no middleman to confuse engagement or intent optimizing the preservation of communal values.

Amruqa also recognizes and utilizes the naturally abundant resources, such as cardamom in the mountains and coconut in the coastal regions, and employs the farming techniques known by the communities instead of introducing new crops and methods. All water used for commercial processing of products is collected from rain and requires no ground water extraction. Because the company and the communities work in direct contact, Amruqa is able to observe their partner’s actual needs and helps satisfy them in return for the product provided by the community. In exchange for the raw materials, Amruqa is currently reciprocating knowledge by educating their colleagues in the processes used to create their finished products and making efforts to install the equipment necessary to move the processing operations into the communities. Knowledge on end-market use and principles of “value-adding” are central to their active processes and educational engagements with the communities in their network. For example, cardamom dryers have been installed in the Komgi area and a coconut oil processing system has been installed in the coastal area of Induna, which was scheduled to open July 22, 2009. The process has been localized in hopes of inspiring individual innovation. In the future, Amruqa hopes to install a cardamom processing facility in Raunsepna along with a government funded technological school. The close proximity of the two will facilitate the incorporation of the processing into the curriculum.

Amruqa acts as a conduit for remote areas like Raunsepna and Komgi to interact with the world market. The roads to both village buying points are treacherous at best and in inclement weather impassable. The vehicles used on these roads are in constant repair and often must be pushed or pulled up and down the mountainside. However, Amruqa , frequently Theresa Arek herself, makes weekly efforts to reach these areas in order to maintain their business relationships. These relationships are not dictated by Amruqa, rather they are at the discretion of each individual farmer. At any point in time an individual can choose to sell their product elsewhere, but the relationship formed between the company and supplier motivates continued cooperation.

As a rule, Amruqa incorporates human needs into their business practices. For example on a routine cardamom run, the usual bags of spice were replaced by a sick child needing immediate medical attention. Though it meant there would be no cardamom from that area for that week, Theresa Arek made the decision to care for the child with the community’s consent. It is not uncommon for Amruqa to engage in resource sharing with its employees, including educational and health care resources. These are the types of things that keep the relationship strong and motivate a continued partnership.

Arek’s tenacity and persistence are critical to Amruqa's success and also are one of the company’s single-point-failures. If her determination and drive were removed from the business model, the company would cease to thrive, as she is the principal driving force representing the usual conglomeration of numerous executives. Arek’s flexibility when faced with adversity, such as washed-out roads, broken-down trucks, and capricious profits, is what keeps the company moving forward. The company’s business would be unimaginable without it. Many companies worldwide have an executive directorate to delegate tasks in hopes of ameliorating this single-point-failure situation. For Amruqa to perpetuate its success, Arek’s position and spirit will need to be assumed by multiple people later down the road, as there are few individuals who manifest the same level of determination and resolution.

Adaptability and personal resilience are necessary parts of entrepreneurship in Papua New Guinea and its Western counterparts. Mutual recognition of cultural differences, like values, relationships, and customs, ensures smooth working interactions. Businesses must take into account such things in order to effectively function within the unique environmental context of Papua New Guinea. The personal, community and political facets of the environment require local businesses to use different models than those commonly seen in Western based businesses. In order to effectively collaborate, each business must invest time to understand, consider and embrace these differences to achieve success.

Date Entered: June 2009

Important Note
In 2009, the Heritable Innovation Trust team worked in close contact with an organic spices and essential oils company by the name of Pacific Spices. The following year the company underwent changes and was referred to in the 2010 document as Follywell No. 6, Ltd. After filing all the necessary paperwork, Follywell No. 6, Ltd. became known as Amruqa. All aliases found in the Heritable Innovation Trust documentation having to do with the company have been kept as they were at the time of documentation. All references to Pacific Spices, Follywell No. 6, Ltd., or Amruqa refer to the same organic spices and essential oils company owned and operated in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Company Overview:
Amruqa is a certified organic agricultural producer (NASAA, JAS, USDA) based in Vunakanau, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Amruqa uses methods of farming and processing that are optimized to the environment in which they operate. Though many of the processes were inspired by information from books and online resources, they have been changed over time to produce the high-quality products that Amruqa 's markets desire. Just like their products, the methods at Amruqa developed organically and seek to return benefit to the land and the people who steward natural abundance. Due to the geographically remote and communication-inaccessible nature of the Amruqa operation, many processes developed for use at Amruwa have developed out of opportunistic engineering and, while sharing similarity with processes elsewhere, can be considered endemic to the venture. We were first introduced to Amruqa by our host, Theresa Arek. Theresa and Ian Sexton manage the company with the help of Theresa’s daughter, Sharmayne. All the knowledge of the farming and processing methods of the company expressed below were shared with us by Theresa, Ian, and the Amruqa working community. This knowledge is shared among all of the people who work for Amruqa and benefits everyone associated with the company.

The Heritable Innovation Trust document has greatly adapted over the past 4 years. Now, the document and community analyses are based upon the values of Integral Accounting, however, at its inception, the document was constructed around three contextual categories: personal context, community context, and political context. Therefore, the communities visited during the inaugural trip have a different kind of analysis.

Contextual Analysis

Personal Context
Community Context
Political Context

Trust Items (must be logged in to view)

Amut Rope
Betelnut
Coconut Harvesting and Processing
Guava
Lemongrass Cultivation, Harvesting, and Processing
Mumu Tapiok Na Minmin
Noni
Papaya
Patchouli Harvesting and Processing
Pepper Cultivation, Harvesting, and Processing
Rolina
Roof Thatching
Solar Dryer

Location
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