The project that aims to run for three years will see local farmers tap into growing potatoes, round onions, cabbage and other food commodities that not only generate income but food security.
In a memorandum of understanding signed between the Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) and Talasea District Development Authority (TDDA), FPDA will be facilitating trainings and assistance to the locals to grow, produce and commercialised these food crops.
FPDA’s executive manager, John Pono who officiated the signing said it was good to have an Island province like West New Britain take on the initiative to trial this project.
He said, even though the province is oil palm dominant, the inland Cenaka people have the right climate and land to grow and produce food.
“The idea is that the people can produce food crops but we will assist them to grow what they need and they can sell it to the oil palm growers. That’s another way they can make money and the cooperative societies creates a platform for that,” Mr Pono said.
Member for Talaseam, Francis Maneke welcomed the concept by signing the MoU before locals including members of 38 cooperative societies at the Central Nakanai government station.
Mr Maneke assured the backing of TDDA on the project and encouraged locals to tap into the industry in which FPDA will facilitate training, upskilling and necessary technical advice about the project.
The people in Bereme, Sabal, Malele and Yauyau and those along the mountain range will take on the program as project trial.
Meanwhile, a team from FPDA will be in Kimbe town soon to organize feasibility studies before the project starts.
West New Britain now becomes the second Island province in the New Guinea Islands provinces to collaborate with FPDA after its set up in Pomio, East New Britain Province in August.