By TONY PALME
THE time has come for Jiwaka to harness its agriculture potential and become major fresh produce supplier of Papua New Guinea, according to a local cooperative.
The Jiwaka Organic Food Farmer’s Cooperative Society, which comprises 39 farmer groups representing some 700 households said that political will and support is the key to unlocking that potential.
Society managing director and Market for Village Farmers (MVF) lead partner Agnes Merip Gal said newly elected governor Simon Kaiwi, Anglimp-South Waghi MP Joe Kuli, North Waghi MP Benjamin Mul and Jimi MP Wake Goi were key men who could empower their people.
“This is an urgent request to these leaders to ‘break the ice’ and invest heavily in agriculture especially commercial farming,” she said.
“If I am correct, I have never seen any real political support towards agriculture since independence despite it being the only potential this province has to contribute towards national development.
“Jiwaka can produce all kinds of fruits, vegetable grains and nuts to export if there is political support.”
Sharing the views held by Gal is James Kirpe, the Fresh Produce Development Agency’s (FPDA) technical officer in Jiwaka.
Kirpe, the programme manager for potato inspection and certification, said people had the land to grow any crop or raise livestock but to go commercial, they needed financial and technical support.
“Organisations like FPDA and Nari (National Agricultural Research Institute) are technical experts.
“They do not have money to give to farmers.
‘They provide specialist technical advice on best farming practices.”
“The financial aspect remains the responsibility of the farmers.