In a major announcement made recently, Prime Minister Hon. James Marape revealed his ambitious plan to transform Jiwaka, the home of the great Wahgi Valley, into the “agriculture powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea by 2025—the year marking the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.
Addressing a massive crowd of thousands at the launch of the North Wahgi District Five-Year Development Plan in Banz, North Wahgi, Prime Minister Marape pledged K10 million to the Jiwaka Provincial Government. This substantial financial support aims to breathe new life into deteriorating coffee plantations, including the renowned Wahgi Mek, and provide price support to farmers, ensuring a steady price of K6 per kg.
The announcement signifies a crucial step towards revitalising the coffee industry in the Wahgi Valley, known for producing some of Papua New Guinea’s finest coffee.
Prime Minister Marape emphasised his commitment to the agricultural resurgence, stating, “By 2025, when we celebrate 50 years of independence, I want Jiwaka to become the ‘agriculture powerhouse’ of our country.”
Encouraging the local population, he added, “If you work, we will assist you. If you can’t find a job in the formal sector, there is so much money to be made from our land. Kaukau (sweet potato) is money, broccoli is money, tomato is money, cabbage is money, coffee is money.”
Outlining the allocation of the K10 million, Prime Minister Marape explained, “Of the K10 million, K5 million will be dedicated to rehabilitating rundown coffee plantations, while K5 million will be allocated for price support.”
He expressed dissatisfaction with past attempts, noting, “Three years ago, I announced this coffee price support; however, public servants in Waigani did not set up a correct structure. This time around, I will bypass them and come straight to the province so that the K6 per kg price can go straight to our people in the villages.”
Prime Minister Marape said, “The price of coffee should not come below K6 per kg, and the Jiwaka Provincial Government should ensure that this is carried out, through an established structure.”