Grower calls for good roads

Transport PNG

By SERAH LAGDOM
A FARMER from the Afore District, Northern, has called for maintenance and sealing of roads in the district so PMVs fares would be reasonable.
Andrew Gago, a Kava farmer of 21 years, said poor road infrastructure in the district resulted in a hike in PMV fares.
“PMVs operating in the area charge high fares citing the bad road conditions which put a toll on their maintenance costs, as well as to cater for the fuel.
“We pay K50 to go to Popondetta, and for simple farmers struggling to find markets, this is an expensive exercise for us.”
He said operators were now using the Land Cruiser vehicles as PMVs because these vehicles were meant for off-road terrain.
“Road conditions have not improved for the past five years, so trucks which were used as PMVs cannot be constantly maintained if subjected to worse road conditions.
“In the past, it took 3 hours from Afore District to Popondetta. But today it would take 4-5 hours.
“The PMV fare was K40 but has now gone up to K50 per person and if you have cargoes, you would be charged according to type of cargo and quantity.
Example, we are charged K10 for a bilum of food and K20 for a bag of food, depending on the size of the cargo.”
He said bad road conditions had not only affected the cost of travel, but also caused economic losses to farmers.
“In most cases, farmers cannot afford the PMV fares thus most of their produce rot away in the gardens.
“If only the road condition was good, farmers would be able to have better market access or buyers would be coming to the village to buy,” he said.
“Siribu Village has a lot of cash crops like vanilla, coffee, potatoes and kava but the road linking Siribu Village to Afore District to Popondetta is not good, which makes it hard to transport our produce to the market,” he said.
“Authorities responsible need to maintain and seal the road as it is the only link to markets which we depend on.
The road network is the only way for better market access.
“We have our elected member who should be looking at such issues that is really affecting all of us,” he said.

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