By LEMACH LAVARI
The Enga government needs K6 million from the National Government to complete the Agro Industrial Centre (AIC) project in Sirunki, says Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.
He told The National that the project, in partnership with Israeli company Innovative Agro Industry (IAI), is already worth K17 million.
The project is estimated to cost K23 million.
It is operated under the registered company Enga AIC Ltd.
The project has two major components: The first is Agro-Industrial Services and Training Centre to provide training for local farmers.
It buys fresh vegetables from local outgrowers and sells them.
The other is the 15ha Commercial Agro-Industrial Centre which currently grows and sells its own produce to markets in Port Moresby and Lae.
Sir Peter said the farm had already delivered fresh produce such as potatoes, bulb onions, strawberries and carrots.
He said the project would need K6 million to fund an outgrower programme which would engage about 350 farmers.
The famers would grow vegetables in their own gardens and sell to the farm.
“They have their own land so they just grow the required crop and sell back to the farm,” Sir Peter said.
“We are slowly making our way into the market.
“The sooner we grow produce, people will realise that there is money here (in agriculture).
“The Israelis predicted that after all facilities and market are set, there will be as much as K50 million in returns for the whole project.
“The people will get around K20 million directly into their pockets.”
According to a provincial government official, famers from Sirunki made around K150,000 for 40 tonnes of potatoes last December.
The potatoes were sold to a supermarket in Port Moresby.
They were bought from the famers at K2.50 per kg.
By LEMACH LAVARI