Installation of solar power to support rural communities in Papua New Guinea
by PNG Business News - July 11, 2022
EU-STREIT PNG preparing to install micro grid solar panels in selected public facilities to support cocoa, vanilla and fisheries entrepreneurs as well as livelihoods of rural communities.
To create an enabling environment for cocoa, vanilla and fisheries entrepreneurs and to generate real possibility for economic growth that will enhance the livelihoods of rural communities, the UNDP under the EU-Funded Joint UN STREIT PNG Programme, is closing in on preparatory works with stakeholders to install solar generated clean and renewable electrical energy in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
In a one-day workshop organised by the Programme in Wewak, East Sepik Province, on Thursday 23 June, participating stakeholders from Division of Education, Sepik Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Mission, Division of Health and Catholic Health Service came together to discuss and gauge feedback from beneficiaries on the installation of micro grid solar systems in six identified facilities.
The selected recipients in East Sepik Province are Taul Community Health Post in Turubu area of Wewak District, Nagum Adventist Secondary in Yangoru-Saussia District and the Catholic Health Service-run Dagua Community Health Centre along west coast highway in Wewak District. The beneficiaries in Sandaun Province are all located in Vanimo-Green District namely Don Bosco Technical School, Vanimo Secondary and Baro Community Health Post. These education and health facilities are located in areas with limited or no access to grid-connected electricity.
Opening the workshop was Head of FAO Country Office in Papua New Guinea Mr Bir Mandal who was visiting Wewak to support the programme to expedite the programme implementation and enhancing partnerships with East Sepik Provincial Government. Mr Mandal draw attention to the global scenario on energy access and what this means for the Greater Sepik Region and PNG. “A third of the 2.6 billion people in the world still do not have access to safe, clean fuels and technologies for cooking or heating their homes, at significant health, social and environmental costs. In PNG, only 15% of the total population of about 8 million have access to grid connected electricity.”
He added: “For change to occur, we need to reset our energy systems and put people into the centre – ensuring that these systems are cleaner, more secure, more resilient, and totally inclusive.”
“Under the Programme, we’re working together with relevant Government of PNG (GoPNG) agencies at the national level and our target provinces to ensure communities in the agri-value chain get connected to electricity via renewable energy sources. This initiative will contribute to the GoPNG’s energy access target as outlined in the Medium-Term Development Plan III and various development plans, policy frameworks and regulatory instruments,” said Mr Mandal.
Despite the disruption in the global supply chain by the Pandemic which has put a strain on the progress of this effort, UNDP’s Project Manager, Ms Karen Anawe, said, “I’m pleased to announce that preparatory works are now underway to ensure we assist the government to close the energy access gap by promoting clean energy and a transition towards a low carbon economy in our focus areas.”
Ms Anawe said the meeting also discussed sustainability and ownership arrangements of these micro grid solar systems.
For the recipients, unreliable electricity supply has been an ongoing dilemma for years, hence the support will give confidence as well as strengthening their operations to service better the rural people.
“Nagum Secondary is a recipient of this support and I like to say thank you to the European Union as financiers of this impact project, not only for the school, but for the community at large. We’re glad that the solar project in the future will gather for students from the Sepik provinces, and also from Madang and Morobe,” said Mr Jeffrey Saigomi, Secretary for Sepik SDA Mission.
For Dagua Community Health Centre, serving sick patients after hours or in the night has been an concern for some years because of no proper lighting. “This is a big help to us, especially for the people living along west coast including Dagua LLG. The solar power will provide sufficient lights for sick patients in our wards. It will also help with some emergencies we conduct after hours and in the night like attending to deliveries and injuries from road accidents mainly,” said Mr Ignatius Burr, Health Extension Officer. The rural health facility services some 100,000 plus rural population of Dagua LLG including those from Boikin LLG. Despite being handicapped in its operations, the facility is known for being the first to attend to some very serious road accident injuries along the west coast highway before referrals are made to Boram General Hospital in Wewak Town.
A feasibility assessment for renewable energy power was conducted in early 2021 for the region, and six facilities were identified for solar energy installation.
The UNDP under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme supports development and improvement of renewable energy to create an enabling environment that will embrace development of the three targeted value chains which thousands of rural communities in the Sepik Region depend on to sustain their livelihoods.
The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. Being implemented in close cooperation with the National and provincial government institutions, research entities, civil society organizations, and private sector enterprises, the Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 29, 2022
Supporting farmers with tools and materials to produce quality cocoa and vanilla in Papua New Guinea
In a bid to enable farmers to put into practice skills acquired during capacity-building trainings, the EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme has started distributing tools and materials that will enable rural communities to improve their husbandry practices in cocoa and vanilla blocks. This intervention which started in May has so far distributed to 52 cocoa farmer groups in East Sepik Province and 38 cocoa farmer groups in Sandaun Province with 900,000 polybags, 90 shade cloths, 180 telescopic pole pruners, 90 measuring tape and 90 boxes of budding tape. These inputs will help the farmers to rehabilitate their blocks to improve the production of high-quality cocoa beans for an increased income to support their livelihood and families. These groups all have already received tailored training on cocoa bud grafting and block management organised by the Programme in collaboration with PNG Cocoa Board and Department of Agriculture and Livestock officers in the districts and LLGs . The skills acquired during these trainings assist the farmers to enhance their cultivation, farm management and harvesting practices. The 90 registered cocoa groups of over 45,000 farmers have started propagation of cocoa bod borer (CPB) tolerant seedlings in their respective nurseries. The Programme will continue to support them, whereby each group will have their seedlings purchased and distributed to their respective members or farmers including youths and women for free. “I want to say thank you to STREIT PNG and the financiers of this Programme the European Union. The trainings we attended, we will now put into practice using these tools and materials,” said Mrs Maureen Mombi, whom with her husband Ben are organizing and supporting three farmer groups of 1500 members from Mushu Island, Hambraure Village (Wewak District) and Hambini Village (Ambunti-Drekikier District). For the vanilla value chain, the Programme has distributed 120 sets of vanilla cultivation, husbandry and processing tools including shovels/spade, gumboots, pruning baskets, harvesting knife, cooking pot, cooler box, strainer, thick clot, digital thermometer, kraft/wax paper, plastic canvas, and cardboard box to the farmers in 11 villages of Wewak District and 4 villages of Aitape/Lumi District. 6 Vanilla vines treatment shed with a 10,000 vines capacity has been established. The vanilla kits and sheds in total so far is supporting more than 4000 men, women and youths in rural Sepik. “The transfer of knowledge and skills to farmers and their families is an important extension activity that must be supported with tools and materials. Under the Programme we distributing these items as well with new technology to improve their practice,” explained Programme Coordinator Dr Xuebing Sun. “Tools and materials are vital link in adoption of technologies for sustainable farming systems which is being encouraged under the Programme,” added Dr Sun. Among the recipients were 1000 plus farmers from four remote communities of inland Turubu area in Wewak District, East Sepik Province. On behalf of youths and women in the village who will also benefit from this intervention, Brigitte Kamiresa, a mother at Mundangai Village, said: “I want to thank European Union. We mothers didn’t attend big schools so our youths or kids will help train us to use these tools and materials to improve our practices.” The national technical officers of cocoa and vanilla value chain have also explained on the local radios the distribution of tools and materials for farmer groups/clusters that have already been formalised and are supported under the rural agriculture development programme. “If you have transport, please come to the office at Wharf Road. For those in hard-to-reach areas, we will come to you,” said Mr Michael Lames, National Cocoa Value Chain Officer. The distribution of quality inputs by the Programme will continue to cover other farmer groups in the Programme’s implementation sites in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. Being implemented in close cooperation with the National and provincial government institutions, research entities, civil society organizations, and private sector enterprises, the Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - July 06, 2022
Contracts signed for rehabilitation and specific maintenance of first 4 roads in EU-STREIT PNG
To create an enabling environment including farm-to-market roads to support cocoa, vanilla and fisheries farmers in the Greater Sepik Region, the ILO under EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, has recently engaged three local contractors to commence rehabilitation and specific maintenance of four farm-to-market access roads totalling 52.1 km in the Sepik Region of Papua New Guinea. The ILO signed the contracts with three local firms last week. The contracted firms are Hiawani Limited for the rehabilitation of 7.8 km Banak-Wautogik road in Wewak District, Midway Pacific Ltd for the Specific Maintenance of 12.8 km Balif-Araseli road in Maprik District, and Kaystar Construction Ltd for two (2) roads; Rehabilitation of a 6.5 km Munji-Haripmo road in Yangoru-Saussia District, and Specific Maintenance of 25 km Pasi-Krisa road in Vanimo-Green District, Sandaun Province. These roads were selected based on high production of vanilla, cocoa and fisheries in the areas that are supported under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. The contract duration of these specific lots and packages are 12 months and the contractors have been given two weeks to mobilise their resources including machineries to commence road works by 15 July 2022. The ILO Engineer will conduct regular supervision, monitoring and monthly meetings to discuss work progress, challenges and way forward. “We will not only monitor, we will be satisfied to support you by providing technical training to the key personnel of the contractors for continuous capacity development and quality assurance of sub-projects,” explained Mr Shailendra Kumar Jha, ILO’s Infrastructure Specialist/Chief Technical Advisor under the EU-STREIT PNG. “Given the delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has put a strain on the progress, I’m pleased to announce that this is a milestone achievement for the road transport infrastructure component to ensure we assist the government in its efforts to bring markets closer to the unreached in our focus areas,” said Dr Xuebing Sun, EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator. The contractors were selected through the competitive bidding process using e-portal of United Nation Global Market Place (UNGM) to ensure principle of sustainable procurement of ILO. This is a totally new practice in the case of PNG where local contractors were trained on e-bidding and successfully submitted their bids using UNGM and ILO electronic Tendering System (eTS). As part of EU-STREIT PNG’s mandate to support capacity development, all contractors including their personnel will undergo training in technical areas like contract management and administration, Supervision, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Material Testing and Laboratory Practice, environmental and social safeguards, occupational safety and health at construction site, and modern survey techniques using GIS (geographic information system) and Total Station. This is to ensure delivery of quality road transport works for EU-STREIT Programme in the Sepik Region while also fulfil PNG government’s requirement to develop professional contractors in the country. The contractors were excited and looking forward to complete sub-projects within allocated time frame of 12 months. Mr David Bannah of Midway Pacific Ltd said: “We’re very fortunate because we’re learning a lot of new things here, especially the UN ILO procurement process through e-bidding. As a local contractor I’m so proud to be associated with the Programme.” Mr Pious Hiawani of Hiawani Ltd added: “We know the ILO team will help us to become better contractors and many rural people will benefit here so I like to thank European Union (EU)-the donor agency and ILO under the STREIT Programme.” Under road transport infrastructure component led by ILO, 15 rural roads in the Sepik totalling 264kms in length will be rehabilitated to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG for rural farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to the three targeted value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural sector. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. Being implemented in close cooperation with the National and provincial government institutions, research entities, civil society organizations, and private sector enterprises, the Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - July 15, 2022
Training farmers to treat farming as a business in Papua New Guinea
Appreciating farming as a sustainable and viable business practice is the message from PNG Agriculture Company’s PNG Agbook who are partners with the UNCDF in the EU Funded Joint STREIT PNG Programme. PNG Agbook working with the PNG Cocoa Board, organized two sets of trainings for rural farmers in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. A total of 23 farmers who represented farmer groups and agribusinesses in the Sandaun and East Sepik provinces were eager participants in the trainings conducted recently over a two-week period at the PNG Cocoa Board nursery site in Hawain, Wewak District, East Sepik Province. Facilitating the sessions was owner and Managing Director of PNG Agbook Company, Ms Nicole Isifu, a committed young woman inspired to challenge existing farming practices and to drive an increase in more active youth participation in agriculture – as entrepreneurs rather than as part-timers and labourers. The first module was on ‘financial literacy’ while the second session focused on ‘farming as a business’. Two participants manual booklets with simple instructions on topics covered in the sessions were also given to participants to take home and read at their own time. Farming as a Business Manual contains topics like Basics of Money, Financial Fitness, Savings, Budgeting and Borrowing. While the Farm Business Plan booklet contains subjects like Farm Production Plan, Market Plan, Farm Business Profitability and Managing Risks. “While farming provides a means for meeting household subsistence needs, the rationale is to add value out of this practice that must be business like and this is where financial literacy knowledge and farm management skills are crucial and necessary for rural communities in realizing the value of agriculture for an improved income and sustainable participation and living,” explained the EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme Coordinator Dr Xuebing Sun. The participants also benefitted from the presence of three other UNCDF financial institution partners under the EU Funded STREIT Programme. MiBank, WMBL (Mama Bank) and Cellmoni (Digicel) were invited to make special presentations to the farmers on their savings requirements, loan eligibility and the different products and services that are available to the three value chains. The farmers attended as Trainers-of-Trainers and were expected to return to their clusters/groups to train other members including youths and women so this important knowledge to appreciate and practice farming as a business is passed on to others for a collective change in mindset by all in rural communities. For the participants, contents of the training were excellent and relevant to their household and farming needs where they can easily implement in their local areas. “We didn’t know how to save money with the bank so in times of need we can apply for small loans. If this training had come earlier, I think PNG would have change a lot,” said Xavier Kapia, a single male farmer from Mupa Cocoa Farming Group of Angoram District, East Sepik. “When I have a family, my children should not face the challenges of not completing their education just because of school fee problems. I will start saving now,” added Kapia who is still enjoying a young life. The training was beneficial to farmer groups as well to operate like a business. “With this financial literacy skills, we can now prepare proper documentations as one of the requirements of lending agencies to access small loans. My executives are village boys so I can go back and train them,” said Jimmy Makain, the Executive Officer of Wape Agriculture Marketing Group in the Lumi District of Sandaun Province. The group has a membership of 56 clusters comprising 1300 plus member farmers which includes youths and women from East and West Wape LLGs. UNCDF partner under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, MiBank, opened 22 new accounts from this meeting, not only from the participants, but also from locals living within the vicinity of the training area. The UNCDF under EU-STREIT PNG and in collaboration with local partners support implementation of activities related to access finance, rural banking and cashless banking systems. The Programme also support financial literacy of the beneficiaries and an improved business environment. The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a UN joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region, which focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through Increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - March 27, 2023
Papua LNG project to Minimise Economic Challenges
Photo: Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua has recently stated that the Papua LNG project is critical in addressing some of the economic challenges that are currently faced in the country. He said about K75 billion will be generated over a 15 year period when the project is in progress. He added that the initial stages of the project has commenced with K500 million said to be inputted into PNGs foreign exchange capacity in 2023. During a press conference on Thursday the 9th of March, The Petroleum minister highlighted the progressive stages of the Papua LNG project and emphasized the importance and significance of the benefits that the project will provide. According to studies the project life is expected to operate over a 15 year period that will generate about K75 billion and significantly boost Papua New Guinea's struggling economy. "The K75 billion benefit is inclusive of what comes to the state directly as levies, to Kumul Petroleum, to the landowners as royalties and the provincial governments. All of us put together are going to be collecting and sharing that benefit in the next 15 to 20 years", Kua said. Minister Kua said that studies for the Papua LNG project began in 2004 following the discovery by Interoil, the resource estimate is in the range of 6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 98 to 100 million barrels of condensive oil. The benefit of this project is immense and a positive component is the national content which is expected to positively impact GDP, export earnings, forex, revenue to impacted levels of government, landowner benefits and Job opportunities. Minister Kua said the project developer Total Energies will inject K500 million into the PNG economy in 2023. "The Papua LNG project is a project of national significance for Papua New Guinea and will stimulate business confidence and will provide a significant impetus for our economy", "The Marape-Rosso government places high priority on the delivery of the Papua LNG project, we have an improved deal for our people, and improved contribution for our national contractors and workforce. The government strongly supports the Papua LNG project and encourages all stakeholders including project partners to work diligently to deliver the project on time and on budget", Minister Kua said. Petroleum Secretary David Manau was also present at the conference, he highlighted that the petroleum department will work closely with impacted provincial governments and landowners as this is important in ensuring that all stakeholder grievances are discussed and addressed. In light of this, a development forum is expected in the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Kua also revealed a unique aspect of the upcoming project which will mitigate the project's carbon footprint and is set to make PNG in becoming the first country in the Asia Pacific region and only the second on the world to re-inject carbon dioxide back into the well pad in a LNG project. He said the re-inspection of carbon dioxide into the well pad is a significant step towards reducing the project's carbon footprint and will help mitigate the environmental impact of the project and contribute to Papua New Guinea's efforts to combat climate change. The Papua LNG project is a joint venture between the PNG government, TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil. It is one of the largest investments in the country's history and is expected to generate significant revenue for PNG's economy. Total Energies holds 40.1 percent interest in Papua LNG, along with its joint venture partners Exxon Mobil (37.1 percent) and Santos(22.8 percent). The Papua New Guinea government may exercise a back-in right of up to 22.5 percent interest at the Final Investment Decision (FDI) planned by end of 2023 to early 2024 and production will be scheduled for four years later.
PNG Business News - March 27, 2023
WanPNG: The Skills Development and Jobs Platform for the People of Papua New Guinea
Wan PNG is a platform and community dedicated to expanding opportunities for local Papua New Guineans. Its goal is to increase the development and sustainable employment of local PNG talent, so everyone in our great nation can share in newfound resources and growing prosperity. With the goal of empowering individuals and businesses with the skills and people they need to succeed in the 21st century world, the Wan PNG platform spans three core areas for job seekers: Employment opportunities: Gain experience with internships, start earning with entry positions, or upgrade your career with the next big job. Career advice: Advance your career with expert advice and professional resources, and stay up-to-date on the latest news. Education and training: Expand your employment prospects by upgrading your knowledge, skills, and competencies through courses. For employers it provides: Free access to upload jobs and find the best talent. Smart matching between jobs and candidates. Diversity promoting candidate suggestions reaching a wide pool of talent. The platform's primary objective is to promote lifelong learning and employment and simultaneously bridge the skills gap in Papua New Guinea by providing accessible training opportunities to all its citizens. WanPNG believes that by investing in the development of its people, Papua New Guinea can unlock its full potential and become a more prosperous nation. WanPNG is now available for job seekers and employers. Visit the website now at www.wanpng.com to learn more.
PNG Business News - March 27, 2023
St John Ambulance First Aid Training for Workplace
The St John ambulance service responded to over 21,000 emergencies across Papua New Guinea in 2022. In addition to being Papua New Guinea’s main emergency ambulance service, St John is the nation’s leading first aid training provider equipping thousands of workers with essential first aid skills and knowledge. With just one day of training, St John’s expert first aid trainers can equip your workers with the basic skills to handle all kinds of first aid emergencies. Workplace accidents and injuries are a common occurrence and it is essential for employers to have a competent workforce that can respond effectively to emergencies. St John’s workplace first aid courses ensure your workforce is equipped with the first aid training to assist a sick or injured person. It also helps organizations comply with legal requirements, reduce workplace injuries and fatalities and promote a culture of safety and preparedness. The Papua New Guinea St John Ambulance provides training routinely in Port Moresby and Lae, and can facilitate training at any location in PNG, which makes it easy for workers to gain or maintain their first aid qualifications. St John’s first aid trainers come from a variety of backgrounds, enabling them to contribute real-life experiences to the training environment. Each course, based on St John Ambulance Australia’s training resources, goesthrough rigorous appraisal by training and health specialists including St John’s Papua New Guinea’s medical expert advisory panel - made up of some of the industry’s leading physicians and health professionals, who ultimately endorse the clinical training content components of the first aid courses. St John CEO Matt Cannon said, “this rigorous appraisal process gives clients the confidence of St John’s commitment to delivering the highest quality in training content and delivery in Papua New Guinea.” Workplace first aid courses cover a broad range of topics, including basic life support, wound care, bandaging, splinting, CPR and using an AED. Participants learn how to identify and manage different medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, burns, fractures, and poisoning. Each training program is designed to be flexible and can be delivered on-site or at one of our training centres. If you want to ensure that your workplace is prepared to respond to emergencies, contact St John today to learn more about our workplace first aid training.