EHAS a mouthpiece for farmers

Eastern Highlands Agricultural Society (EHAS) President Solepa Aganisafa has clarified the role of the association describing it as the ‘mouthpiece for hardworking farmers’.

President Solepa remarked that the role of EHAS is to promote local farmers in their projects.

“Currently, the EHAS is just a mouthpiece for these hardworking members. But for livestock, we are planning on assisting our small farmers in documenting their projects so they can access financial assistance from their local MPs, donor agencies or the private sector,” said President Solepa.

The EHAS was established in the early 70s in Eastern Highlands by expatriates along with villagers promoting the concept of business and sustainable development to a group of local farmers, including the promotion of agricultural shows within the province.

In affiliation, the Department of Livestock (DAL), they tried to provide more agricultural training including overseeing agriculture in Eastern Highlands ensuring farmers excel and benefit from their hard work.

The EHAS President confirmed that by establishing an effective network with respective authorities and locals, plans for 2024 are underway for the association.

“I would like to organize my members and affiliates to be a cohesive unit, establish network with the relevant authorities in the public and private sector and development partners formalizing our operations,” he said. “I will be sitting with our members (and) affiliates in the next couple of days to review and develop our annual work plan going forward in the new year.”

With the planning for EHAS 2024 operations is underway, one of the key discussions will be on the contractual arrangements with supermarkets for freshly grown produce to be sold including the transportation of produce from the village into stations and towns.

He is calling to government to invest and develop the agricultural sector intensively due to the increase in commodity produce, by installing processing plants that will pave way for jobs and opportunities for the people.

“If the government invests and develop the agricultural sector, I mean we have to get different industries (avocado, banana, pineapple, apple, citrus etc) up and running, the big farms and downstream processing plant,” said Solepa.

“It creates wealth, employment and income generating opportunities for our people. People will remain in the village because money is there. I am not only speaking for the highlanders but the rest of Papua New Guineans.”

According to Solepa, coffee remains the highest produced commodity in the highlands, seconded by vegetables such as carrot, cabbage and sweet potato, which continues to provide a good amount of cash to growers in the region.

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