Ninety-Seven Rubber Extension Officers To Lose Jobs

Ninety-seven rubber extension officers working with North Fly Rubber Limited, will lose their job by end of this month.

This is a result of National Government takeover of PNG Sustainable Development Program.

These officers were among the local rubber growers in Lake Murray, who petitioned the National Government to continue funding their rubber project.

In an interview with EMTV, North Fly Rubber Limited Field Manager, Renagi Lohia, said they will terminate the contract of all 97 rubber extension officers by the end of this month, if the government fail to fund their program.

Of the 97 officers, 22 are based in Kiunga, 17 in Lake Murray, 15 in Suki and 43 in Balimo.

Rubber was the main income for local people in the Non-Impacted Mining Area of Western Province.

Chairman representing Lake Murray, Ralph Sigap, said they have a total of 2,200 hectares of rubber plantation, of which 1,700 hectares are now under production.

Mr Sigap said since last November when the government annexed the OK Tedi Mine and PNGSDP, the local people have been suffering.

Last Friday, they handed over a petition to the government to address this issue.

In the petition signed by over 1000 rubber growers in Lake Murray, they are asking the government to continue funding all the projects previously run by PNGSDP.

Also, they are asking the government to find alternatives for them to sell their rubber.

Mr Lohia said in January alone, the rubber farmers have lost 120, 000 Kina, because ships operated by PNGSDP that transport their rubber down the river are no longer operating.

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