This has been made possible through a project initiated by the Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF).
OTDF has engaged Israeli agro-business company, Innovative Agro Industries (IAI), to implement the project. The six villages involved are Atemkit, Finalbin, Bultem, Kavorabip, Migalsimbip and Wangbin.
A ground breaking ceremony for the project, known as the Mount Fubilan Agro-Industries poultry project, was held on May 24, 2017, at the OTDF Agriculture Centre in Tabubil, where the chicken sheds, feed mill and other associated facilities will be built.
The project will generate revenue for the mine villages from egg sales but also enable their food security needs with the sale of live chickens. Following 18 months of planning, the project has gained a keen interest from the mine villages, especially the womenfolk.
OTDF Chief Executive Officer, Ian Middleton, said: “This is an excellent agribusiness opportunity for the mine villages given their lack of arable land.
“It has a committed technical partner in IAI, and the Star Mountain Women’s Association (SMWA) has contributed 20 percent of the funding, they must now be active participants. It has bound the mine village communities together for the first time.”
Middleton said not only is this project a good social story, it is also a solid business proposition.
“The payback period is expected to be within four years and project returns are hoped to support future mine village education needs.”
The project will cost K7 million, with funding coming from the Village Planning Committees (60%), SMWA (20%) and IAI (20%). Apart from supplying Tabubil and surrounding areas, Kiunga and Bige are also expected to be supplied with fresh eggs.
Already, the project has attracted another landowner company and Ok Tedi Mining Limited’s catering contractor, Fubilan Catering Services, as its first customer, committing to buy 6,000 eggs per day.
IAI Chairman and Executive Director, Ilan Weiss, said the company was committed to partnering with Papua New Guineans and to making the project a success.
Weiss was pleased to add that growing the chicken feed (maize) on the Bige reclaim site was an exciting opportunity that further benefits community income earning opportunities.
Mine Village Women’s Representative, Alice Mumuyong, said it was good that women had a share in the agro business project.
“The women and children in the community are happy that this project will benefit them. I would like to encourage women to take ownership of that project and they must really change their mindset of having cash on hand and make it a reality back in the community,” Ms Mumuyong said.
Also present to witness the ground-breaking was OTML CEO and Managing Director, Peter Graham, OTML Deputy CEO and OTDF Board Chairman, Musje Werror, OTDF Associate Directors Richard Zumoi and Aniba Samo, and mine village leaders John Wanim, Biul Kirokim, Joel Dangkim, Borok Pitalok and Joshua David, along with VPC chairmen and women leaders.
(Picture: CAVU Finance)