A local poultry farm in the Star Mountains of Western delivered 200 cartons of fresh eggs to Ok Tedi Mining catering contractor Fubilan Catering Services (FCS) in March.
Mount Fubilan Farm manager Nir Ber said it was a special occasion that a locally-owned and operated farm could cater for such an order to be delivered each month especially since the farm only commenced production 18 months ago. The farm started construction in 2017 and by late February 2018 the first layers produced eggs. Three sheds with 9,000 layer birds have since produced over 1.8 million eggs.
Ber added that farm operations have met all quality control certification standards and was proudly the first poultry operation in PNG to be granted a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certificate.
“Three months ago we completed a HACCP audit which means we are a certified food producer, it’s a global standard. We got audited by the National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology of Papua New Guinea (NISIT) and the process was quite intensive,” he said.
HACCP covers everything from staff hygiene and grooming to cleanliness of the workplace inclusive of
well-kept farm facilities which accommodate the birds, the egg collection, processing and storage of eggs.
The farm is a product of the hard work and determination of Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) to embed agriculture in the mine villages as a means of providing sustainable incomes. The farm is a partnership between the six mine villages (60 per cent) and the Star Mountains Women’s Association (20 per cent) providing PGK5.4 million while the
Israeli agribusiness company, Innovate Agro Industries (IAI) provided PGK1.3 million (20 per cent) as its commitment to the partnership and an expansion of their agribusiness interests in PNG.
The farm has plans for further diversification at the site with a water bottling project soon to begin and producing the Star Mountains brand and a broiler production and processing factory expansion for whole chickens expected to begin construction before year end.
While taking delivery of this initial order, FCS warehouse manager, Steve Mipi was delighted because the company will experience no logistics pressures, and loss and damage of previously imported eggs.
“We are located in one of the most remote parts of the country and logistically it’s an ongoing issue to get food supplies up here; eggs have a time frame before expiry on the shelves so it’s always a challenge to bring in such perishable items.”
Mipi applauded the farm’s HACCP certification, noting FCS serves one of the largest mine sites in PNG and that customer satisfaction was important.
“We are keeping the money within the community, we are keeping employment within the community; we are basically providing local economic support to our own local community. This is a fine example of partnership. Right now we have fresh eggs right here at our doorsteps.”
Star Mountain Women’s Association president Clara Fred Dangkim who witnessed the occasion, said the project was a huge achievement for the mine villages, especially for the women and children of the Star Mountains.
Village planning committee (VPC) chairman for Wangbin Village and vice chairman of the Mount Fubilan Farm Committee Joshua David said this project has rewritten history by uniting the people of the six mine villages.
Since receiving compensation benefits from Ok Tedi Mining Limited for over 30 years, this project is the first ever co-funded, large scale project for Atemkit, Finalbin, Bultem, Kavorabip, Migalsimbip and Wangbin villages.
“The idea of the farm came from our chairman Maino Lucas and the OTDF CEO after seeing the concept and its potential sustainable impacts for the future. From past experiences we have not had a unified project as such, and every village stood for itself. We have never united to help each other,” he said.
OTDF is proud to have partnered with the mine village communities and IAI to deliver this first commercial agribusiness in Western, an important precursor to the ambitious province-wide agribusiness development plan, the WestAgro Master Plan. The plan, once implemented, will transform Western into a self-sustaining agriculture-driven economy well beyond the closure of the Ok Tedi mine.
- Article and pictures by Ok Tedi Development Foundation media.