The National, Monday 20th August, 2012
THE floriculture industry is a sleeping giant and needs to be nurtured and developed, Department of Agriculture and Livestock director training, Cecilia Kagena says.
“The industry, though in its infant stages, is still growing and has the potential to become a major export earning industry with all the support it can get through creating awareness and providing proper training to our local farmers,” she said.
Kagena made the remarks during a fund-raising dinner for the association at the Point Restaurant in Port Moresby last Friday.
“We have to know the real value of flowers so that it can be used for income generation, which is why DAL, since 2003, has been working in partnership with local farmers by providing technical and funding assistance,” she said.
“We must get our local farmers, both men and women interested to learn how to go into mass production as the current situation is not sustainable.
“Mass production is the way forward where our local farmers have to venture into on a huge scale if the floriculture industry is to flourish and become a source for income generation and export.
“However, we do not have enough trainers to go around and conduct training programmes for our farmers.
“Thus I want to commend Mary Saun for her role in getting the industry up and running and organising local training programmes for farmers around the country, Kagena added.
Saun said as with any industry, there were always hindrances and for the flower industry one was the cost of air freight.
She said airfreight had been a hurdle for local flower farmers in promoting their products in the country.
“To buy a flower variety from Goroka and fly it to Port Moresby is an expensive exercise,” Saun said.
She said to send flowers worth K40 from Goroka to Port Moresby would cost K160 in airfreight.
She said the association intended to negotiate with airlines for cheaper freight rates.
“That is why we, the PNG Cut Flower Association, are embarking on this tour to Fiji to enable our local farmers to learn and experience how the floriculture industry is organised in that country,” she said.
More than K25,000 was raised during the dinner.
The estimated budget for the Fiji trip is K50,000. Anyone wishing to help can contact Saun on 768 94716/7266 6389 or Lyn Lantaca on 7266 4266.