by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
A movement is slowly gaining momentum around the country.
Described by its members as a silent success, this movement springs from a passion for flowers.
While there is still a lot of room for growth, members in this flower movement have already seen the fruits of their efforts and are excited about its future.
The women in this movement are from all walks of life and from all over Papua New Guinea. Their common ground is a passion for flowers.
This passion has led each of them to the PNG Cut Flower Association.
The ‘PNG Cut Flower’ is an association that networks women from different parts of the country, who are pushing forward this emerging industry.
While working with flowers started as a hobby for most of them, they are now seeing its financial benefits.
Rachael Lapauve has left her job as a teacher to pursue a business in potted plants and landscaping. She said her husband’s initial skepticism has turned into strong support after he saw the income that her flower business generates.
“For those women who are sitting at home waiting for their husbands salary, you have can make double, even triple that amount in growing flowers,” she says.
Tina Kama, another member of the association, runs a couple of small businesses however, she says the money she earns from flowers far exceeds those she makes in her other businesses. She came into the flower business when she was asked to sell the excess of flowers in her garden which she was growing specifically to bring to her church.
For other members, the income from flowers is extra income. Jennifer Aigilo says she turned her love for flowers into a commercial trade when a friend bought K600 worth of flowers from her 10 years ago.
A lot of their stories have a common theme, they were surprised to find that a very fulfilling, and relaxing habit can support themselves, and their families financially.
Mary Saun, the president of the PNG CFA is no exception. However, hers is the story that is giving this movement shape and guidance.
From a backyard, flower gardener, she now has a booming business supplying cut flower arrangemen’s and potted plants, and conducts trainings on becoming a florist for interested people, mainly women, around the country.
She says her trainings provide a way to network with women who are supplying her cut flowers for Port Moresby; however, as demands in the suppliers towns increase, it decreases the supplies in Port Moresby. She sees this as a positive step for this movement as it shows it has the potential to grow into an industry.
“I am urging farmers to grow thousands of plants, not just 20 or 30 around the house,” she says, because once they can fully supply the demand domestically they will look at plans to export.