The National, Monday 20th August, 2012
By GYNNIE KERO
THE reforestation and agro-forestry project in Central province has involved business and training package to improve and boost income level in rural areas, PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) acting managing director Goodwill Amos said.
He said this at a graduation ceremony last Friday for 66 Gomore landowners who participated in a two-week training on micro-enterprise organised by Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC).
Amos said Papua New Guinea had vast grassland areas, high population density and yet the income level was low, especially for those in rural areas.
The reforestation and agro- forestry project will create a model reforestation framework that encourages customary landowners to grow high-value income trees such as teak, sandalwood and eaglewood on grassland areas.
The unique aspect of this project is the inclusion of business and the training packages that SBDC provides.
“In the implementation of the Gomore project, PNGFA and stakeholders SBDC, National Agriculture Research Institute (Nari) and others will integrate sustainable forest management practices with various agricultural innovative production systems,” Amos said.
“The project will cover more than 30ha of grassland areas in Rigo district.
“PNGFA’s aim is to improve rural livelihoods in the province by encouraging customary landowners to replant grassland areas with high-value income trees such as teak, sandalwood, and eaglewood.”
“Once the trees are planted, Nari will assist landowners with growing of cash crops for sustainability in the long run.
“SBDC comes in to strengthen the concept by providing business operational or management trainings to landowners to prepare them for the project’s spin off activities.”
Amos said the idea was to promote, cultivate and sustain entrepreneurial thinking and practices as a lifestyle in rural districts and LLGs of rural where extensive grassland existed.
SBDC corporate services manager Peter Kamara said they were trying to encourage the informal sector and encouraged landowners to use skills acquired for their sustainability.