Gulf eyes commercialisation of sago
A project underway to produce commercial grade sago in Gulf Province will create economic opportunities for women in the region and also improve food security.
The project aims to make sago production more efficient, safer and create produce of the highest quality. It was started after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Papua New Guinea Partnership’s Gulf Province Transport Route Impact Study identified sago processing and development of markets for sago as an economic development opportunity.
“Sago production using commercial standards demonstrates how agribusiness can create opportunities and open up options,” said IFC’s Country Manager for the Pacific, Thomas Jacobs.
“It shows the potential of Papua New Guinea’s rich agricultural base and ultimately means a locally grown product can be produced more efficiently and safely, while empowering women and girls, and increasing food security.”
The project, managed by a women’s association in Pawaian village Poroi 2, demonstrates what can be achieved when sago is produced at commercial standards using a mini factory with a mill.
“Sago mechanisation has the potential to improve social outcomes for women and the wider community,” said Christian Reichel, IFC Operations Officer, Agribusiness South Pacific.
“Our research team worked with women to capture their perceptions regarding sago mechanisation. We used the findings to maximise positive outcomes for women and the community.”
With around 1,300 people living in the area, most Pawaian households have a sago crop.
Many girls in the region start processing sago from the age of five. Some 100 women and girls are expected to directly benefit from this project.
The project has also established a number of buyers in Port Moresby and Total E&P PNG will facilitate logistics to deliver the product to market. A successful trial may lead to another two processing plants.
About 80 percent of people in Papua New Guinea rely solely on agriculture for their food and income and sago is a staple that more than 64 percent of people depend on. There are approximately 1 million hectares of wild sago across the nation.
“Commercialisation of sago production offers the opportunity to make a higher quality product, create greater food security for the region and introduce sustainable land management practices,” said IFC’s Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, John Vivian.
IFC’s work in Papua New Guinea is guided by the Papua New Guinea Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Partnership to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty.