K1.7m road for remote EHP

A K1.7 million Works standard road will be built at the remote Obura-Wonenara District of Eastern Highlands Province.

The Coffee Industry Corporation’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (coffee) is set to construct the 5km road.

Contract signing for construction of the Nombia-Bibiori road was at the Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB) office in Port Moresby on Friday, 20 October, 2017.

The road will service over 20,000 people of the Lamari LLG in the Tairora area of Obura-Wonenara to transport their coffee to the nearest Kainantu town. The area is known for producing very high quality organic coffee.

CSTB chairman Dr Ken Naghan says: “The contract is not of a high amount but we have to ensure the process is followed.”

Minister for Labour & Industrial Relations and MP for Obura-Wonenara electorate, Mehrra Minne Kipefa, on behalf of his people thanked CSTB for allowing the procurement and tendering process to go through.

The local MP also acknowledged CIC-PPAP for partnering Obura-Wonenara District Development Authority (DDA) to rehabilitate the road, which he says will open up the area for other services in health and education.

With productive partnership with DDA and PPAP, over 20km of road will be rehabilitated beginning from Norikori Junction to Bibiori. The first 15km is being funded and/or counter funded together.

This March/April, the DDA through its District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) fund, financed the construction of a 7km access road from Norikori junction to Barabundora Junction. The other 9km from there to Nombia will be counter funded by the DDA and PPAP as per discussion between Minister Kipefa and Project Manager for CIC-PPAP, Potaisa Hombunaka.

Meanwhile, Hombunaka congratulated Kassampy Construction Ltd for being awarded the contract and also for making it into the good books of World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Fund (IFAD) for passing this first test. The real test will be accomplished on delivering a Works standard road.

“We have to ensure the process is followed because the end game is to build a road that is of high quality standard that will last for years,” says Hombunaka.

During construction, both PPAP Consulting Engineers and Provincial Works Engineers will carry out routine inspections till conclusion. 

The World Bank and IFAD are financiers of the CIC-PPAP industry rehabilitation effort and construction of access roads comes under Component 3 infrastructure development function. The CIC going forward will be recommended to have an Engineering section in its structure as market access is critical to growth of the industry.

The CIC-PPAP senior procurement officer, Ms Theresa Witi, was overwhelmed in that this will be the first road to be constructed under the project.

“Finally we will build the first road. I would like to thank everyone, including CSTB and project financiers for the process to go through,” says Ms Witi.

Coffee is the lifeline of the local Lamari LLG people. The locals are hard working. They have the capacity to produce more beans from their coffee gardens, but the dilemma for the last 40 plus years is they have no easier access to market.

There are only two closest access roads to Lamari, one ends at Obura Station and the other at Nombia.  The locals prefer walking to Nombia, which is about 25km from Kainantu town and 20km from Aiyura Research Station and SIL Ukarumpa. The economic cost of transporting a coffee bag to Kainantu through Obura station is K50 compared to Nombia, which is only K20.

The new road link will be a new chapter in the lives of these people, often referred to as the back page of Eastern Highlands Province.

At the signing ceremony were CSTB chairman Dr Naghan, project manager of CIC-PPAP Hombunaka, Minister Kipefa and local contractor Kassampy Constructions Ltd representatives.

The coffee rehabilitation is a CIC project through Department of Agriculture & Livestock. It is financed by a loan facility from World Bank and IFAD with support funding from the PNG Government.

Press Release