Local farmer urges FPDA to open market

A local farmer has appealed to the board of Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) for a closed market to constantly supply his kaukau.

Aku Kulo is a major kaukua farmer and buyer from the Asaro Valley, about 15 minutes-drive west of Goroka town is now venturing into mechanized farming and needed a market.

Last Thursday, Mr Kulo was surprised by a high-ranking visit to his farm by the board chairman of FPDA Fabian Chow and his two directors Greg Berry and Dos Kauga.

The team visited Mr Kulo’s farm which has developed from an ordinary village farm few years ago into a modern setting with irrigation already making its rounds.

The board members were highly impressed with the setup of the farm that has been producing kaukau weekly to Lae and Port Moresby markets.

After farming for more than 10 years, Aku is now a well-known kaukua farmer in the Asaro Valley who also supplies clean kaukua seedings to neighbouring farmers free and later buy back to sell to his Port Moresby and Lae markets.

With an irrigation now feeding his almost 10-hectare farm, he now calls for help to purchase a mini plough so he could reduce human labour he hires every week.

He said Kumul Petroleum has orderd 10,000 seedlings from his igloo nursery so if that transpires, he would purchase a plough to ease labour on his farm.

Aku said he was a struggling farmer without any support from the government although there was more talk going around to support agriculture in the country.

Mr Chow commended Aku for committing his time and energy to develop a wonderful farm that was producing clean kaukau to the markets.

“You have done well to an acceptable level and we are proud of you. As an organization we have assisted you with clean kaukau seedlings and technical support but you still need help in many areas to fully mechanize it,” he said.

Mr Berry and Kauga also commanded Aku for a job well done adding he was a fine example to young people in the urban and rural areas of Eastern Highlands.

“You have done well with kaukau just like I did with potato many years back. Stay at it even if the prize is not good and your kaukau not getting the returns you anticipate. Stay with it and you will be good at this business when everyone else gives up,” said Kauga.

Mr Kauga who is the pioneer potato wholesaler and supplier from Mt Hagen said Aku was an example of sheer hard work and persistence.

Mr Kulo said he was delighted to have such high-ranking people visiting his farm and their praise only gives him more strength to keep on moving on.

He asked the FPDA board and management to secure a closed market for him so he could properly label and pack his kaukua to those markets.

“I supply 200 bags every week to Port Moresby that goes to the open markets. A lot of risk is involved but I have to do it. If I had a close market, I would be happy to maintain consistency and quality,” he said.

Freddy Mou