Alotau seen as likely food hub

Papua

ALOTAU district in Milne Bay can become the hub of foods production if foods and vegetables farming was given priority by local farmers.
Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) general manager for Mark Worinu said the soil and climate is suitable for growing different types of foods and vegetables to supply the local market and even to other parts of the country.
During a trial farm visit in Alotau’s Laviam village outside the provincial capital, Worinu said organically grown fresh produce was the way forward for small to medium-level PNG farmers.
FPDA has now expanded its model farm concept into Alotau establishing three model farms and three model farmers in the province with more expressing interests.
Coinciding with FPDA’s annual board meeting in Alotau this week, the trial farm visit has been a boost for the company’s expansion plans as well as that of the aspiring farmers.
Milne Bay has lacked large-scale vegetable production in the past and the introduction of fresh produce farming skills and technology by FPDC has been an eye opener for local farmers, Maxwell Paulus said.
Paulus a model farmer trialling Chinese cabbage, watermelon, round onion, corn and a few other crops has been an extension officer for trial rice farming until recently.
“I switched to growing crops after fetching K1500 on a small piece of land where we trialled vegetable farming,” he said.
Today Paulus has engaged 12 farmers in the Huhu LLG area where he believes more locals would convert their time into farming.
FPDC board member Greg Barry said after conducting a brief market assessment in Alotau it was evident that Alotau main market and super markets were selling fresh produce at a very high price prompting a need for local produce and the onus was now on the farmers.

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