Coffee official reminds MPs to build access roads

Building a good and reliable road network system will give rise to all other forms of changes in rural communities including coffee development work, says a coffee official.

Manager of Coffee Industry Corporation’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP) Potaisa Hombunaka urges MPs to focus on building and maintaining rural roads to improve access of rural communities to markets and services.

“Our mothers feel the pain of carrying heavy loads including babies to climb mountains and cross rivers to sell their coffee or garden produces.”

“Just build the roads and forget about us. Roads will take care of other services.”

The last two lines received overwhelming cheers or support from the crowd.

The coffee manager was speaking during the launching and signing of an agreement between 6 MPs of Simbu and Jiwaka Provinces for construction of access roads connecting Minj-Kup-Gumine and Dona-Kerowagi.

The ceremony was held at Dur Wamugl in Kerowagi District of Simbu Province on Wednesday 17 January, 2018.

The MPs present were Hon. Bari Palma (Kerowagi), Hon. Joe Koim Kuli (Anglimp South Wahgi) and two governors Hon. Michael Dua (Simbu) and Dr William Tongamp (Jiwaka). Minister for Education Hon. Nick Kuman (Gumine) and Minister for Petroleum and Energy Hon. Fabian Pok (North Wahgi) were represented by their chief executive officer or officials.

Mr Hombunaka also called on ward councillors and their people not to demand compensation when the road is built through their customary land.

“Donour agencies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank will take the money and go elsewhere.”

“For public good, somebody has to stand up even if it means you are the only odd person in the community to tell others the right thing to do.”

The Highlands Highway runs in the middle separating these two road back roads, one to connect Minj, in the Anglimp South Wahgi area of Jiwaka Province with Kup (Kerowagi) and Pildimna (Gumine) in Simbu Province. The other connection will be from Dona to Kerowagi in Simbu Province. The rural roads have been listed for funding by Asian Development Bank under fourth trench but work will begin soon under joint DSIP funding.

As an economic road it is expected to open up business activities including coffee rehabilitation work financed by World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development under CIC in this Central Highlands region.

The PPAP coffee component is working with three lead partners namely Tribal Aromas, CDA Gumine and AAAK Cooperative reviving existing coffee gardens in the area with 2000 plus farmers. The project will have invested over K5 million in Simbu by June 2019.

Meanwhile the signing of a memorandum of agreement among MPs of two provinces sharing a common border was the first of its kind in the Highlands region and the country.

“We will work with our two governors. This is an historical event and a great initiative especially when we are faced with cash flow problems.

“We need to form this partnership to deliver infrastructure services,” says MP for Kerowagi and Vice Minister for Mining Hon. Bari Palma.

Mr Palma urges the people to take part in coffee and agriculture development work to increase economic activity in the area.

“This is the only way for government to collect tax through your produces and make funding available for the maintenance of this road.”

Mr Palma is a first-term MP in the current Parliament. He took the initiative for this great partnership effort.

He said the provincial MPs will combine funding from their district support improvement program (DSIP) for this road work.

“When we do this, development partners will see and come in to help us.”

The gathering attracted close to 5000 people and 50 vehicles mostly Land Cruisers. The people gathered as early as 9am for the official presentations which began at 2pm and ended at 6pm.

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

L-R: PPAP coffee component 2 coordinator Bill Humphrey (eastern zone), PPAP coffee manager Potaisa Hombunaka and Kerowagi MP Hon. Bari Palma.