Gov’t committed in reviving old plantations

The Government is willing to help revive the old plantations with financial support, however, a proper work programme must be in place.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, John Simon made these remarks during a meeting with Wahgi Mek shareholders and Jiwaka Governor, Dr William Tongamp, in Banz on Friday Feb 4, 2022.

He said it is in the best interest of Jiwaka and Papua New Guinea that the rundown Wahgi Mek Plantations are revived.

Wahgi Mek Ltd is jointly owned by South Wahgi LLG, North Wahgi LLG and Hunter Richard Hagon. It was once the single biggest coffee exporter in the country until it ceased operations due to landowner disputes.

There have been many attempts to revive the 11 plantations but to no avail.

“We all know very well that the economy of Jiwaka is dependent on coffee.

“The biggest coffee gardens to restore our Jiwaka economy are the Wahgi Mek Plantations.

“It is in the interest of everyone that Wahgi Mek is revived.

“Our national coffee production is dropping, and one of the contributing factors to that, is Wahgi Mek Plantations not producing.

“The big coffee plantations in the Wahgi Valley like Wahgi Mek, Gumanch and others need to be revived,” Minister Simon said.

Minister Simon said leadership was critical to revive Wahgi Mek Plantations, especially at a time like now, when people were better educated than in the past.

“The problem now with reviving plantations like Wahgi Mek is that everyone wants to be a leader, and at the end of the day, nothing gets done,” he said.

He stressed that a start could be made by reviving one plantation first, and then move on to the others, rather than try to revive all of them at the same time.

He said the onus was on everyone to work together, especially the two LLGs and Jiwaka Provincial Government, to revive the Wahgi Mek Plantations.

Freddy Mou