by Bethanie Harriman EMTV Lae
Buhalu is a village in the Nawae District. The Morobe Provincial Government is supporting a taro project in the area. It’s a Public Private Landowner Partnership.
The provincial Morobe government has allocated K1.6 million kina for the Taro project.
Buhalu village is about three hours drive from Lae. Its home to 200 farmers engaged in a commercial Taro project.
“We have 200 farmers registered, it is a slow process, we will be able to set up our farms within the next two-three months,” said Tutumung Women’s representative and Agriculturist, Fungkec Samana, who is involved in the project to grow taro and sell to a Market.
Buhalu’s is an Agricultural based economy. A handful of local people operate trade stores but most rely on their gardens for an income.
They pay for school fees, clothes and basic needs by selling Taro and Banana at the Lae market.
On Friday, the government of Morobe launched the Buhalu Taros project.
In the speeches, farmers had the opportunity to tell all levels of government the importance of supporting their sector.
“We go to the Lae Market, sit under the weather and sell our taro for very low prices, if they ask to buy for K5 we have to sell, if not the taro will be sold for lesser,” said a Woman Farmer.
National Agricultural Research Institute Director General, Dr. Sergie Bang, said the institute would teach Taro budding techniques and pest management skills to the farmers. It will also assist in market research.
The Morobe Government would use the Public Private Landowner Partnership concept to support this project.
“K1 million kina has been put into the program last year, this year another K600,000, its an on-going project and we will continue to fund until we get a desired result,” said Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru.
The Markham rice project with Trukai Rice and the Wagam Wharf project are two P.P.L.O.P projects currently being funded by the Provincial Government.
The National government slashed nearly eighty percent of PSIP funding coming into the province and it will affect the progress of projects.
The projects supported by the Provincial Government echo’s recent National Government Agricultural Small Medium Enterprise Plans.
The National Executive Council launched SME Master Plan earlier this month highlighted key objectives.
They aim to grow 500,000 small to medium Enterprises and create two million jobs, much of it in the Agricultural sector.