Agency highlights potential


PAPUA New Guinea has the opportunity to develop a new commercial agricultural market for production of starch from cassava, according to International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank Group.
IFC’s private sector partner’s work was named the winner of the large organisation category of the inaugural Innovation PNG 2019 Awards.
In announcing the award, the judges noted the cassava project had a massive scope and innovation both in agro business and product development.
“This imaginative and complex programme is the first cassava project in the country and has the potential to encourage others to replace imports with locally grown produce, delivering a positive economic impact,” the judges said.
The award, which was presented in Port Moresby, was for organisations with more than 10 employees.
SP Brewery’s project included the production of cassava for a new beverage manufactured at its cassava factory in Erap in Markham, Morobe.
IFC signed a partnership agreement with SP Brewery last August for the innovative project, with the starch initially to be used to substitute imported ingredients in beverage production.
The project aimed to create a new industry and boost farmers’ incomes.
“The SP Brewery cassava project demonstrates how an innovative approach to agro business can create new markets and opportunities,” IFC’s Pacific country manager Thomas Jacobs said.
“It shows the potential of PNG’s rich agricultural base and ultimately means a locally-grown product can replace an imported one, with the creation of a new industry.”
A key aspect of IFC’s work with SP Brewery is the focus on helping around 450 smallholder farmers to grow the desired new cassava crops. These farmers are being provided with training to learn new skills that will help them boost productivity and better manage their farms.
The Innovation PNG 2019 Awards, launched this year, seek to celebrate and encourage innovation in PNG business, government and organisations.
They are an initiative of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Business Advantage International.

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