By Lillian Keneqa – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Farmers in the Highlands region now have a modern produce processing and distribution depot at 9 Mile, Port Moresby.
Innovative Agro-Industry, in partnership with Enga Province, officially launched this state of the art facility on July 24 2018, at Innovative Agro Industry’s 9–Mile Farm.
IAI Chairman, Ilan Weiss, said he has waited 7 years to see this project come to pass.
With the opening of the 9-Mile Highlands Produce Depot, Port Moresby will be seeing a lot more fresh products from the highlands, particularly potatoes.
Enga Agro-Industrial Center, also known as Sirunki Farm, has sparked great interest from local communities in farming their own land as out–growers.
The Highlands Produce Depot will wash, clean, sort, package, cool and facilitate distribution to deliver high-quality farm produce to the Port Moresby retail market.
This, in turn, creates a high-value market link for farmers in some of the most remote regions of PNG.
IAI Chairman, Mr Weiss said, they receive 7 tonnes of potatoes from Sirunki every day.
Enga Governor, Sir Peter Ipatas, said the community which was once prone to violence is now engaged in farming.
He thanked the 21 LLG presidents who were present for the opening of the depot.
“ Over the years I have tried, as a governor, to have vegetable projects, but we’ve always lacked management and expertise, and now I see that there is a chance for us to succeed in this project because we got the right expertise and people who know how to do business.” Governor Ipatas said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, was very impressed with the work IAI PNG was doing to help the people of Enga and PNG.
“IAI continues to build on that model where you bring in the expertise and the capital in partnership with government and then we extend and try and engage through smallholders.” Deputy Prime Minister Abel said.
Sirunki farm has been producing strawberries and potatoes since December of last year (2017).
This depot will give Sirunki-produced potatoes a strong platform in the retail market.