RURAL Gumine, in the rugged and mountainous terrain of Chimbu, came alive on Sunday, Aug 8, 2021.
The occasion was National Planning and Monitoring Minister Rainbo Paita presenting K1 million to Gumine on behalf of the Marape Government to start a micro, small to medium enterpises (MSME) incubation centre.
He also handed over materials for two 20,000-seedling capacity nurseries in rural Gumine.
This is all part of the Marape Government’s strategy of ‘Taking Back PNG Through Agriculture’ and putting money into the pockets of our rural people.
Minister Paita made the presentation on behalf of Agriculture and Livestock Minister, John Simon, who could not make it because of bad weather in his Maprik District of East Sepik. He gave the materials to Gumine District Development Authority and MP Nick Kuman in front of hundreds of people.
Nursery materials – which were transported by PNG Cocoa Board (PNGCB) officers from Lae – include shade cloth, polybags, wheelbarrows, knapsacks, knives, wire, files, boxes of nails, spades, pickets, saws and pliers worth K60,000.
The nurseries, once built by PNGCB officers, will provide cocoa seedlings to Gumine and other parts of Chimbu.
Gumine, which borders the Chimbu food bowl of Karamui (which has the biggest cocoa pods in PNG), has been described as the “new frontier of cocoa in PNG”.
It is in the central west of Chimbu and covers the Wahgi, Maril and Mon valleys in the north and the mountains of the Oinima and Maril Divide in the south.
It shares a border with Jiwaka.
Most people live between 1,400 and 2,000 metres, within the rugged hills and slopes of the Kubor Range and along the sides of the Wahgi and Marigl rivers.
Gumine shares electoral boundaries with Karamui-Nomane to the south, Kundiawa-Gembogl to the north, Kerowagi to the north-west and Sinasina-Yongomugl to the east. Low to moderate incomes are earned by farmers from coffee and fresh produce, with cocoa being the ‘new kid on the block’.
The presentation of the nursery materials for Gumine comes as Chimbu prepares to stage the prestigious PNG Cocoa of Excellence Show in Kundiawa from Oct 7-9.
Minister Paita said the Government was committed to supporting the agriculture work started by Minister Simon around the country.
“The Marape Government will support the agriculture work started by Minister Simon with funding,” he said.
“I want to tell everyone that money is in the land.
“When God created the earth, the first job he gave to Adam was to work the land.
“Many of us are not working the land now as God wanted us to.”
MP Kuman said cocoa-growing only started last year but interest was growing among the people of Gumine.
“To date, we have got 6,000 to 7,000 trees and most of them are already bearing fruit,” he said.
“We are grateful that through the intervention of Minister Simon, we are able to get another 10,000 seedlings, as well as this latest support of K60,000 worth of nursery materials.
“We will now be able to go into Nondri, which has a large catchment where we want to introduce cocoa, and a population of 8,000 to 9,000 people.
“It has very fertile land, on which people grow organic Arabica coffee, and where we now want to introduce cocoa.
“The people are excited and hopefully, by the time we finish cocoa-planting in Gumine, we should have at least 200,000 trees to start.
“At the cocoa show in Kundiawa in October, we will bring some of our harvest, and display it to the rest of the country.”
The Gumine MSME incubation centre, for which Minister Paita presented K1 million to MP Kuman, will also help to drive development of cocoa in the district.
Paita, when handing over the money to Kuman, said the concept had been on the drawing board for a while and was now becoming a reality.
He said it would have everything for MSME development including areas for agriculture production, buying, selling, women, service stations and others.
The minister congratulated Gumine DDA for taking this initiative to help the people in this mountainous and difficult area.
He assured MP Kuman of ongoing support from the Marape Government, especially in agriculture, with PNGC and Fresh Produce Development Agency already going into Gumine in a big way.
“On behalf of the National Government, I give this support to you (Kuman), and at the same time thank you for your continuous support,” he said.
“I also thank you on behalf of the Pangu Pati for your support.”
MP Kuman said the Gumine MSME incubation centre would support the growth of MSMEs through marketing.
“This is a project which we have undertaken to make sure that all our agriculture produce in the district will come to one central point, from where it will be taken to market,” he said.
“Construction work will begin at the end of August.
“We will target cash crops like potatoes, bulb onions and cocoa.
“At the same time, we will target SMEs in other areas as well.
“This will become the hub of business and SMEs.”
MP Kuman commended the Government for its ongoing support to SMEs and agriculture development in the country.
- Malum Nalu works with the Office of the Prime Minister