Division focuses on supporting farmers


Southern Highlands’ division of agriculture and livestock will be mainly focusing on supporting rural farmers involved in potato farming this year, adviser Kenneth Toap Kuimp says.
This is with the potato factory in Pangia to be opened soon.
Kuimp told The National that although there were other agricultural activities in progress such as fish and vegetable farming, the main focus would be on potato.
During the first provincial assembly meeting last Thursday, the potato project and other agricultural activities were discussed.
Kuimp said Mendi-Munihu district in Southern Highlands was the major producer of potato in the past.
It is now grown in Imbonggu, Nipa-Kutubu, Ialibu-Pangia and Kagua-Erave.
“Officers will continue to move around the district, making awareness and helping those interested farmers by training them,” he said.
“Innovative Agro Industry (IAI, Israeli company) will work in partnership with the provincial government to supply seedlings.
“This is a huge opportunity for the province as a market has been established.
“It will not be like other crops which farmers struggle to sell at markets.”
Mendi-Munihu MP and Works Minister Michael Nali said he fully supported the project.
Nali said people must not look at selling imported items on the streets and leave their land untouched.
“People are not working in their gardens growing vegetables and other cash crops,” he said.
“There is huge demand for fresh vegetables in Port Moresby and other centres.
“Once the Gulf-Southern Highlands Highway is completed, there will be huge demand for agricultural products.
“People should start farming their land.
“Farmers will be lucky to transport their produce to the nation’s capital.
“It is sad to see most of the vegetables sold at Mendi Market are being bought in Western Highlands then resold at the market.
“People are lazy to dirty their hands,” he said.
Nali said the initiative taken by the provincial government to partner with IAI to establish the factory was commendable.