By ROSELYN ELLISON
EASTERN Highlander Lorna Boski is living in Kokopo, East New Britain for the sake of her small business.
Lornah, 32, from Henganofi district, sells vegetables at the Kokopo market she buys from Highlands farmers.
“The demand for Highlands’ vegetables at the Kokopo main market is very high. Despite the freight cost and other expenses, I try my best to charge a reasonable price for the farm produce I receive, so that it is affordable to customers.”
“ I want to start small and eventually get to where I want to be. I have faced challenges when doing my sales but they give me more courage to continue what I am doing.”
Lornah decided to move across the Bismarck Sea to Kokopo because of the potential market for vegetables and other farm produce there.
She grows cabbages, carrots, spring and round onions, garlic and potatoes back in Henganofi. But she discovered that the demand for vegetables there is not as high as in Kokopo as most people in the highlands grow their own.
So in 2019, she travelled from Goroka to Lae with eight bags of cabbages, got on a ship bound for Kokop. She started selling what she brought at the Kokopo market.
“During that time, there were no many people selling cabbages at the Kokopo main market. But my cabbages were sold out.”
She charges up to K10 depending on the sizes of the bundles. She sells carrots for K2 and K1, sweet potato for K5 for a heap of five, and potato for K1 or 50t.
Lornah knew she had made the right decision to move to Kokopo because of the business potential there.
She has been involved in growing vegetables and selling them at the market since she completed Grade 10 at the Rintebe Lutheran High School in Goroka in 2007. Due to medical issues, she could not progress her education.
So she returned to her village and started using a piece of land to grow cabbages, carrots, spring and round onions and other vegetables.
She began selling the vegetables from her farm at the Goroka main market in 2008. She did not look back.
“Though the demand for vegetables in Goroka is not high, I still managed to sell my farm produce as I wanted to become a successful businesswoman by selling vegetables.
“My dream is to one day own a market for myself which vendors can use to sell their garden vegetables and food.
“I want to start small and eventually get to where I want to be. I have faced challenges when doing my sales but they give me more courage to continue what I am doing.
“I am happy when I see women in Kokopo especially the Tolai ladies buying my vegetables.”
She arranges with relatives to send by ship vegetables packed in bags from home to Kokopo. She then sends money back to them to buy some more and send them across the same way.
There are vessels such as the mv Cebu which operate regular trips between Rabaul and Lae.
Lornah is married to Maxie Nimkama whose parents are from Chimbu and Jiwaka. He helps her out in her vegetable market business and she is grateful to him for that.
Not everyone will complete formal education. And not everyone will become a public servant, office worker or a pilot. Out lots are different. Lorna knows hers and is doing all she can to be successful at it, God being her helper.