Eight-year wait finally over for lower Bena


COFFEE farmers from the lower Bena area of Eastern Highlands will now benefit from the long awaited Magitu Bailey bridge that was opened recently, according to the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).
CIC, in a statement, said for eight years, people in the area struggled with accessibility into Goroka town for basic goods and services due to the collapse of their only bridge in 2014.
With the assistance of CIC and Unggai-Bena development authority (DDA), the rebuilt Magitu Bridge will now connect more than 30,000 people to the provincial capital.
CIC chief operations officer Steven Tumae said the bridge would now serve coffee farmers and farming communities in Magitu, Sogopehu, Katagu, Lahame, Hofaga, Sakanuga, Bagahinupa, Sekagu, and Sozugu, all in the Lower Bena LLG.
“We need productive public-private partnerships to deliver vital infrastructure to our rural people,” he said.
“This bridge will help your children to go to school; it will help you to bring your vegetables to the market safely and for access to other basic services.”
Kafa Sese, a local farmer, said they had waited eight years for this day.
“We are so pleased and cannot contain the joy within us,” he said.
Local woman Mamito Naga, from Magitu village, said mothers carried bag loads of garden produce or their sick children across the Magitu River to get to Goroka.
“When the bridge collapsed, mothers continued to cross the river carrying garden produce and our sick kids to go to town,” she said.
CIC-PPAP manager Potaisa Hombunaka said the 30-metre bridge was built at the cost of K1.2 million – K500,000 from the DDA and K700,000 from CIC.