Hiri advocates agro-empowerment


THE Hiri District Special Purpose Authority (HDSPA) is keen to promote agriculture development within the PNG LNG impacted villages in the Central Province.
The HDSPA, representing the villages of Porebada, Boera, Papa and Lealea, has approached the Department of Agriculture and Livestock to seek advice and get more information.
HDSPA representatives led by the CEO, John Oli, Chairperson, Vagi Solien, and Advisor, Neil Daniel, met recently with officers from DAL’s Food Security Branch and Southern Region Office.
The three representatives expressed their gratitude to DAL for agreeing to meet and discuss possible ways in which DAL can provide technical advice on agriculture projects. They were keen to discuss potential investment opportunities that may be created by the APEC 2018 as well as to strengthen networking and collaboration with DAL and relevant government agencies. The LNG impacted villages are seeking assistance from DAL and relevant agencies in land use planning, socio-economic development with emphasis on livestock and food crops farming using modern farming systems. They want to work towards creating income earning and better livelihood for the village youth, women and men.
The HDSPA wants to utilize available resources and mobilize the villagers through their Incorporated Land Groups to establish partnerships with government and private sector for socio-economic development and agriculture investment.
Mrs Vagi Solien emphasized that the visit was timely having originated from the perspective of the Hiri people’s aspirations to develop their customary land with agriculture and mitigate the aftermath impact of the dependency culture that has emanated of the LNG project to now affect household livelihoods. The objective of this visit, was to facilitate HDSPA request to develop a project that will showcase the potential of agriculture in the shortterm, whilst getting DAL to assess commercial agriculture prospects for the long term.
DAL director for Southern Region, Leka Mou, told the HDSPA that DAL had expertise available who can provide advice in agri-business planning, development and implementation.
He urged the group to prepare an agriculture business plan that can consider viable and sustainable development and investment opportunities, such as exploiting the lucrative market in Port Moresby city where some 200,000 tons of food valued at around K500 million is handled and so Central Province rural communities can tap into this to maximize benefits at the village level.
DAL is willing to partner the HDSPA by promoting the idea of practical planning to achieve economic independence for life changing results.
Thus, the HDSPA with DAL and all stakeholders must collectively facilitate a bottom up approach, involving the village leadership within the impacted areas, at the onset for the people to take ownership of their destiny through the essence of encouraging domestic investment on their customary land for commercial interventions focal on the use of agriculture farming as a business venture.

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