Following the government’s call to promote and encourage Papua New Guineans to work their way into SME opportunities and agricultural initiatives, Prime Minister, James Marape recently opened the Walter Farming Association buying point for fresh produce in Namatanai, New Ireland Province.
The buying point has been in operation for over a year; supplying fruits and vegetable to National Catering Service in Lihir Mine.
Newcrest Limited recently signed another contract that will have WFA buying point continuing to supply NCS for the next three years.
Marking it first anniversary, the buying point reached another milestone by breaking its daily average record of 1.8 tonnes to 4 tonnes of fruit and vegetables shipped to NCS, Lihir Mine in just one day.
Impressed with these outcomes, Namatanai MP, Walter Schnaubelt says the major contributors of the buying point is the people of Namatanai.
“we have signed a three year contract. Thanks to Newcrest and NCS. This means as part of the contract we have K7mi dedicated to buying fruits and vegetables from buying point”
He added that it has increased the confidence of farmers in the buying point.
“I’m happy with Newcrest who employs more Papua New Guineans holding senior positions, meeting social responsibilities, and are helping the local farmers in Namatanai.”
The agreement signed with Newcrest to supply NCS in Lihir Mine encourages and supports the growth and development of SME and landowner companies through collaboration.
Newcrest Chief Operations Officer, Craig Jones says “we’ve been promoting local business development with our business partner Australian Business Volunteers, which will support these local businesses. “
Officiating at the anniversary commemoration during his visit to Namatanai, Prime Minister, James Marape said Namatanai’s buying point is a step in the right direction.
“Thank you Namatanai for embracing a small concept, it will be to (the) rest of the country that pasin Namatanai must be embraced by the rest of the country in going back to agriculture and going back to small rural based industries that , I look forward that one day these small things grows into becoming bigger things.”
Marape adding that currently, only 10 percent of the population is carrying the rest of the population, which is a concern.
“The least you can do , is to go back home and be an economically productive person . use your hands to grow your wealth “
Around 90 percent of its 5000 PNG workforce is local; which means agreement signed between NCS and the WFA buying point stands as highlight of the benefits that flow to communities across the country.
By Annette Kora, EMTV News, Port Moresby