Kenni says that the PNG rubber industry has enormous potential and needs to be revitalized and transformed to become a major cash crop.
Kenni said this in Port Moresby during a meeting with a delegation from Manus Province, comprising landowners, provincial administration officials and investors to discuss rubber development in Manus province, in particular, the Pohowa rubber project.
In welcoming the delegation to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock headquarters, Kenni said she wants to see changes in the legislation that will enable positive changes to improve and boost capacity building including training and manpower resources. She said more effort needs to be made to strengthen the technical capacity to enable DAL and relevant government agencies to enhance extension delivery services in rubber-growing areas.
Kenni said she wants to work closely with stakeholders including provincial administrations, private companies and landowners, to revitalize and promote rubber development throughout the country.
“I want to see a rubber revolution in PNG. Rubber is a good crop for PNG farmers. The people must see rubber as a friendly crop they can utilize and benefit from in the longterm.”
“I want to see more planting of rubber trees – we need to plant more rubber trees to bring back the forest that has been depleted through logging activities.”
“I want to do more for rubber. There is potential to develop rubber in Manus and other provinces. We can also work in partnerships to develop existing rubber projects.”
Chairman of the Pohowa Agriculture Ltd, the landowner company involved in the Pohowa rubber project, Bruno Sokou Koki, said due to lack of basic services and income earning opportunities, the Pohowa project was initiated some 40 years ago as an impact agriculture project.
“We have been struggling over the years to seek assistance from the government and to find suitable investors and financiers who can assist the landowners in developing the project. We are still striving to get the project off the ground.”
Koki said the project will boost the local economy, provide opportunities for young people, improve livelihood and increase income-earning opportunities.
He said the Manus delegation travelled to Port Moresby to check on the progress in particular the Forest Clearance Authority with the PNG Forest Authority. He said the Environment permit had already been issued and the Incorporated Land Group process was nearing completion. A suitable investor had also been engaged.
The delegation also included the Pohowa Agriculture Ltd Deputy Chairman, Dickson Kanau, Managing Director, Paul Misu, Provincial Agriculture Manager, Oma Wamu, National DAL Rubber Coordinator, Posangat Polume, Provincial Forest Officer, Bernard Tewi, and member of the Provincial Forest Management Committee, Felix Chanuan, Investor representative, Deodatus Hii.
Picture: A group photo of the Manus delegation at DAL headquarters. Kenni is second from right, and Koki, is on far left. In front with them are DAL Deputy Secretary for Policy, Francis Daink (second from left) and Polume (far right)