Farmers get SME training

Partipants at the SME training at Panim Adventist Primary School outside Madang town.

OVER 600 participants from the Medwagi area in North Ambenob LLG of Madang district who desired to prosper themselves converged on Panim Adventist Primary School for a training in macro small-to-medium enterprise (MSME).
This first-ever MSME training in Madang district on Jan 19-22 was an initiative of a local organisation known as Medwagi Agro Services.
According to Rodney Daul, who is the interim secretary, Medwagi Agro Services was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority on No 29, 2019 after an idea was hatched following a World Bank project called PNG Agricultural Commercialised Diversified Project.
Executives of Medwagi along with a Madang district development authority (DDA) commerce officer invited two community affairs officers from the Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) to assist in facilitating the training due to their vast experience and exposure working with organised groups in mining-impacted communities of Usino-Bundi and Rai Coast districts of Madang.
The MCC facilitators were Allan Wahwah, who is the supervisor at the mining company’s sustainable agriculture and gender office and James Kias, who is a business development officer.
The SME training attracted participants from four wards in North Ambenob LLG of Madang district. These included Ward 2 villages of Sisiak, Furan, Panim, Jahil and Mirkuk. Ward 3 villages were Brahim, Korog and Opi, Ward 4 included Mis, Silibob, Kauris and Kamba, while Ward 22 covered Gal, Sanpi and Matepi villages.
Wahwah who is a ‘straight shooter’ told the people of Medwagi that SMEs have the potential to create jobs and wealth, contribute to nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) promote gender equality and liberty,
Furthermore, SMEs can help reduce social issues associated with drugs, home brew, manslaughter, brutal or barbaric killings for which the district has been tagged ‘cuttings territory’.
The training was an eye-opener for some who had felt hopeless and idle at home or even asked mothers going to the market for K2, K5 or ‘wasa’ colloquially referring to K1 just to buy ‘mix’ to enjoy with their ‘yawa container’ thus worsening the lazy attitude of begging for free hand-outs.
The training shed some light on the fact that about 85 per cent of the country’s population are subsistence growers who conduct their activities seasonally in the informal sector. They are not in the formal sector and not contributing to the nation’s product GDP and economic prosperity or sustainability.
Kias explained that it was Ramu NiCo’s second engagement in conducting training outside of its project impact districts which are Usino-Bundi and Rai Coast. However, they were delighted to assist in imparting the knowledge to the rural people of Madang district since MCC is a corporate citizen of Madang and was very eager to promote harmonious relations with the people.
Wahwah said MCC as a corporate citizen of Madang stands ready to help people of Madang venturing into macro agri-busines in providing business development advises, planning, management, marketing and awareness on cross cutting issues in partnership with development partners on health, climate change and other challenges.
He said the CA team of Ramu NiCo would assist in areas of promoting financial inclusion products and services for the unbanked population by encouraging production and connecting income to savings and SME growth.
Wahwah in his closing remarks called on the people particularly on their lives individually, as families, sub-groups and members of Medwagi Agro Services of North Ambenob LLG to be proactive in receiving new changes and innovations taking place in the world today.
He also challenged participants from the Medwagi area to manage their time properly and also be cautious of saving culture in order to be successful in life today and in the future for their children and grandchildren.
“Young men and women should stop gossiping a lot or continue telling stories which doesn’t bring value or doesn’t impact on your life’s properity,
“Identify your weaknesses/strengths and challenges/opportunities present within our various business environments and develop better way forward plans in partnership with team members
“Focus on your plans and goals, work hard to achieving them and ensure that you are a result oriented person,” Wahwah said.
The training exposed the facts that many rural young men and women were being marginalised as a result of lack of access to employment opportunities, disputed land for farming or SME activities’.
The training also uncovered that many rural growers in these four wards in Medwagi area lack quality information, skills and knowledge and research –technologies to advance SMEs
Additionally, most rural farmers in Madang lack micro credit finance for SME loans in particular. They do not have good access to transport and and market services.
Wahwah was critical of socio-cultural values, beliefs and practices that were not friendly to SME growth. He said people should forego them to do well in entrepreneurship.
He said sorcery and bride price payments, for instance, could be impediments to SME growth and sustainability.
“It has become already a cultural norm that when a person dies, people spend money the hosting haus-krai, buying food items to expressing their grief and sadness. These cultural norms are in fact losses impeding economic growth and sustainability,” Wahwah said.
The training also encouraged participants to free their customary land and work with relevant government and private sector players to better transform their resources into monetary value.
“Our world has become a global village and people should use new applications now easily accessible in mobile phones to access information on advancing their SMEs,” Wahwah said.

  • The author is a supervisor with the public relations section of Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd.

Nationwide mentoring programme

Participants of the East New Britain Micro to Small Entrepreneurial training at the close of the programme last December in Kokopo. A similar series will be held nationwide through the entrepreneurial mentorship programme.

IT’S dynamic, it’s powerful, and will be a rare life-changing opportunity when it comes to a town near you.
The 2021 Nationwide Micro to Small Entrepreneurial Mentorship programme is set to roll out to the country starting in March.
More than 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs across the country are expected to be reached through this programme and enlightened on the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, and inspiring them to tap into the entrepreneurial space with confidence for growth and success.
Kokopo-based coaching and mentoring firm and programme facilitator, Lamang Business Consultants is adamant to take this programme nationwide after a similar series was successfully concluded in Kokopo last December, with 30 participants. The nationwide mentorship programme comprises of four modules tactically designed to appeal to the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Principal of Lamang Business Consultants, Bawon Scat Lamang perceives that there is an unceasing need for financial literacy and business mentoring for people across the country.
It was through this perception that the programme was initiated to capture and address those varying needs and to create an informative avenue for aspiring entrepreneurs to be nurtured.
“Many of our people are spectators in business and wealth creation because they lack the necessary knowledge on financial management, entrepreneurship and the possession of a winning mindset to equally participate,” Lamang said.
“Lack of knowledge and motivation coupled with the unavailability of consistent progressive coaching and mentoring programmes, is one of the main reasons why our people are losing out big time on most business opportunities in the country.
“This entrepreneurial programme is destined to capture, address and provide solutions to these many issues to ensure the people are equipped with the basic knowledge and information on entrepreneurship and finance.
“More importantly, people would be able to make informed business decisions and become equal and active participants in the economic development of the country.”
Lamang said the inclusion of the winning mindset module into the business series, makes this programme rare, unique and extraordinary, compared to other similar programmes offered by other organisations.
“All accomplishments firstly begin with an idea held in the mind, so it is equally important to reprogramme the minds of the participants in the programme also, so they are conditioned to take massive action towards wealth creation and economic empowerment for growth and success,” Lamang said.
The programme is specifically designed for those in the micro to small economic sectors. This includes ordinary Papua New Guineans aspiring to tap into business opportunities (startups) and small scale business owners who need further guidance, mentoring or insights into how to grow the business further.
According to Lamang, the programme is also an invaluable opportunity r those who are retiring from the workforce and are planning to go into small business. This mentorship programme will capture those needs and set a clear path for the retirees to be able to make more informed micro to small business investment decisions.
The facilitator stated that unlike various other SME programmes and seminars, which focuses on existing and well-off businesses, the programme has its focus at the grassroots level; capturing the needs and aspirations of those in the micro-economic sector and ultimately assisting them start and grow their own businesses through an inclusive approach.
“It is through this inclusive approach that we are full-filling the aspirations of the Medium Term Development Plan III (2018 – 2022) which speaks about securing our future through inclusive economic growth for all Papua New Guineans,” Lamang said.
The programme will be conducted over a period of five months across 15 major urban centers across the country and is divided into four legs.
The first leg will be held in Kokopo, Kimbe and Lae. The programme will then expand to Alotau, Port Moresby, Kiunga, Mt Hagen and Goroka in the second leg and then cross over to Wewak, Vanimo and Madang in the third leg. The fourth and final leg willbe in Buka, Arawa, Kavieng and Lihir.
Aspiring entrepreneurs in other centers are urged to visit the facilitators Facebook page Lamang Business Consultants for programme dates, outlines and registration details.