Official positive sago mill will be transformative

Business

PAPUA New Guinea’s first mechanised sago processing mill will change how Papua New Guineans view sago, particularly in terms of the opportunity to develop SMEs across the country, an official says.
Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC) managing director Augustine Mano made the statement following a demonstration of the country’s first mechanised processing mill at Poroi 2 in Gulf.
Gulf has an estimated 400,000 hectares of wild sago and 5,000 hectares of semi-cultivated sago.
“Sago is everywhere across PNG and we really take it for granted,” Mano said.
Currently, however, sago producers employ manual processing methods, rudimentary tools and bush materials for processing as well as dirty water from the river for washing the sago pith.
This makes the production slow and laborious and further leaves it susceptible to food safety concerns.
Mano said the simple technology would be transformative if it could be replicated and applied in other villages across the region and the country.
“Imagine if we had these set ups in every village and worked towards making it a product for export,” he said.
“Just imagine the empowerment of the SME, that’s where I see the potential.
“The trial project, located in Pawaian village along Purari River in Gulf, demonstrated what can be achieved when sago is produced at commercial standards using appropriate technology.”
The project is managed by a women’s association with support from Koko Nene Henaru, a community representative company, and from Papua LNG project operator, Total E&P PNG.
Total managing director Jean-Marc Noiray said the sago mill was exactly the kind of venture the company was looking to partner with as part of their broader plan to support a diverse range of projects that would allow communities to develop opportunities that existed outside of the oil and gas ventures.

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