CPL Group also runs the Stop n Shop chain of supermarkets in Port Moresby and one of the biggest buyers of local fresh produce for their shelves.
Upon a formal discussion and invitation by Oro Governor Gary Juffa on the possibility of Oro supplying its fresh produce, CPL Group General Manager Ajay Patel met with Oro farmers with the display of some local produce.
Mr Patel said he was impressed with the display of produce and made a commitment to buy from the locals. He said CPL Group would buy on a weekly basis provided quality and consistency were maintained.
Mr Patel said it would take farmers, council of chiefs as organizers and Northern Resource Ltd to ensure quality was maintained.
Governor Juffa said he was pleased that CPL Group has agreed to his proposal and finally made the trip.
He said the Oro Provincial Government would now seek assistance from National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), Department of Agriculture and Livestock and Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) to assist their farmers with farming methods and techniques.
“Oro is blessed with fresh produce of all sorts growing in both higher and lower altitudes on volcanic soil but the only problem has been the lack of markets,” he said.
He said local people were capable of growing in huge quantities but there was no value chain process that could absorb the produce hence, they grow just enough for their household consumption and very little for local markets.
Having partnership with a big supermarket like CPL Group, Oro people can produce and supply on a regular basis as per market demand.
“I know we have huge land and consistency on supply which big players require. This is not going to be a problem for us. We can supply regularly and that I can guarantee,” he said.
Governor Juffa also thanked the Council of Chiefs who have organized the farmers to receive CPL Group General Manager and his team.
Mr Patel and his farmer specialist Leah Ove visited a huge crowd of vegetable farmers at Agenahambu Primary School in Central Kiava of Higaturu LLG.
Governor Juffa has also held similar discussions with airline companies for the possibilities of subsidizing freight costs so local produce from Oro Province could reach Port Moresby markets on a weekly basis.
He said the Marape Steven Government’s focus on agriculture development to take back PNG must be implemented through empowering rural farmers.
“Once we empower our rural people to sell their produce and have cash in their pockets, we have now addressed some of the major issues such as urban drift,” Juffa said.