World Bank official touched by Asaro mud men

IT was an emotional welcome for a senior official of the World Bank at Yamiufa Village in Mando area of Lower Asaro LLG in Eastern Highlands Province on Thursday 5 October, 2017.

Mr Stephane Forman was visiting the country for the first time as Task Team Leader of the 13th World Bank-led implementation support mission (ISM) checking progress of coffee and cocoa rehabilitation in Papua New Guinea.

The World Bank official arrived at the village with mission members and was touched by a traditional welcome led by the famous Asaro mud men.

“This is my third day in PNG and you’re the first community to welcome us. I’m very touched by the way you welcome us,” said Mr Forman.

Mr Forman and team were each presented with a traditional colourful highlands bilum, bows and arrows and led by the  Asaro mud men and women dressed in traditional attires into the haus lain.

The occasion was to launch the distribution of tools and materials for farmers taking part in coffee rehabilitation under Coffee Industry Corporation’s Productive Partnerships in agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP). The Lead Partner is Outspan Ltd.

The coffee rehabilitation project is financed by a loan facility from World Bank and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development with support funding from PNG Government.

Mr Forman spoke on behalf of World Bank and IFAD urging farmers to make the most of the opportunity to increase their production with quality and subsequently earn more income to improve their livelihood.

“I hope to see some changes in the way you produce coffee. The project has less than two years from now so make the most of it to sustain it yourself.”

He also inspired the farmers to increase production and market better quality in order to attract private companies to buy their coffee at a higher price.

“We still need your effort, your dedication and this welcome shows your commitment,” says Mr Forman.

Mr Forman is a senior officer of the World Bank previously based in Washington DC and recently transferred to the Sydney office in Australia.

Deputy Secretary for Department of Agriculture & Livestock Steven Mombi who was part of the government delegation in the mission explained the loan which PNG Government took to finance coffee and cocoa rehabilitation in the country.

“The PPAP coffee and cocoa is a PNG Government project. The government took the loan from World Bank and IFAD to finance it. We will pay it (loan) back.

“When we went to get the loan we wanted a model that can deliver this project with the principle aim to improve the lives of our rural farmers.”

Mr Mombi challenged all players in the coffee and cocoa industry to ensure the PPAP model is a success.

“We want to develop a good template for government to institutionalize in other areas like in livestock or fresh produce.

“So far we’re happy that the model is delivering and everyone including farmers must be commended,” said Mr Mombi.

The mission visiting a CBB infested garden at Wantrifu Village, Asaro Valley, which has been rehabilitated recently by hard working CIC officers with the help of growers.

Mr Staphane Forman at the background with Deputy Secretary for DAL Steven Mombi being escorted by Asaro mud men into the haus lain at Yamiufa Village, EHP.

Approved for release:

Potaisa H. Hombunaka (Mr)