By Adelaide Kari – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Eastern Highlands Province Governor, Peter Numu, is hoping to improve development in the province by putting the Provincial Government priorities in Roads, Agriculture, with Trade and Investment. The province is one of PNG’s largest with 8 districts.
The governor says the province had been listed as the 2nd least developed province in the country. Due to this, the Provincial Government has put in place a 5 year recovery plan that has the three listed as priorities for the Province. With roads, Governor Numu says that the funding that was available then when he took office, has been used for the road behind the Provincial Government building that services the Provincial assembly and Goroka Court house, the back road from Fanuifa to main town and the upgrading and sealing of the 2.3 km Kainantu town road.
As for agriculture, the Provincial government has initiated a rice and mushroom farm at Fimito in Goroka that has been used for studies by Chinese developers to determine whether or not EHP was suitable for rice farming. The study found that rice fields at Fimito was able to produce rice 13 times in one yield. The rice and mushroom farm is a part of a bigger picture. A multi-million US dollar Agriculture industrial Park in partnership with Chinese developer that will have a down processing factory to process fresh produce, including rice, to sell nationally and export internationally.
The provincial government is looking to have an equal equity in the agriculture deal and the governor is expected to be in China this month to finalise the Agriculture Industrial Park agreement after an Memorandum of understanding.
As for trade and investment, the governor says the road projects and agriculture should give confidence to investors to look to EHP. In this year’s Eastern Highlands Provincial Budget, the provincial government allocated the following for the priority areas;
- Roads and Bridges Maintenance ( under transport infrastructure grant)– K15,633,000.00
- Agriculture and Livestock (under primary grant distribution) – K658,200.00 and
- Trade and Investment for SME (under Production Grants Distribution) – K770,000.