Logistics a challenge for farmers: MP

The fresh produce section of the Stop & Shop Waigani Central in Port Moresby offers a wide range of vegetables some produced by local farmers.

LOGISTICS is a challenge farmers deal with when supplying produce to markets, a parliamentarian
Kundiawa-Gembogl MP William Onglo made the statement when commenting on the supply of fresh produce from his district in Chimbu.
His district started supplying bulb onions and potatoes to City Pharmacy Ltd’s (CPL) Stop & Shop outlets in Port Moresby.

From left: City Pharmacy Ltd founder Sir Mahesh Patel, CPL chief executive officer Navin Raju, Kundiawa-Gembogl MP William Onglo and CPL project manager Ajay Patel during the launch of Santana potatoes at Stop & Shop Waigani Central in Port Moresby last Friday.

“There is a lot to do in our cold chain supply before we start on the other produce,” Onglo told The National.
“The complications of cold supply needs to be perfected.
“In terms of logistics, timing of harvest, temperature controls varies with different produce.

Customers choosing from the variety of produce at Stop & Shop Waigani Central’s fresh produce section in Port Moresby recently.

“It’s a challenge to try to maintain quality during transit.
“We are constructing our cold storage depot at 8-Mile Port Moresby.
“Once it’s complete, we don’t have to rush but, instead, can stock up and maintain supply to our customers consistently.
“In the meantime, we are partnering with City Pharmacy Ltd.
“CPL has really gone down to our district and encouraged farmers to grow, as marketing was a concern.
“Farmers can grow but unlike coffee where you can store and transport in dry containers, fresh produce is not durable and will spoil quickly before reaching the market.

The fresh produce section of the Stop & Shop Waigani Central in Port Moresby has a variety of local and imported fruits and vegetables.

“If you don’t have a market then the risk is high as the produce will be wasted.
“This has discouraged farmers as most don’t have the facilities or resources to facilitate the logistical challenge.” Onglo said issues like natural disasters including landslides, frost, floods, and lack of power also affected consistent supply of fresh produce as shipping vessels departed Lae to Port Moresby once a week.
“We did a container of avocado once and all were rotten when they reached Port Moresby,” he said.
“Our people also need to be trained on how to harvest, when to harvest and what to harvest.
“Handling and packing are also challenges.
“But we are confident that we will get better over time.”