Partnership promotes food security
A strategic partnership between Oil Search, Fresh Produce Development Agency and PNG Mining and Petroleum Hospitality Services will pave the way for greater economic empowerment and the resilience of farming communities in Hela Province.
This will increase quality vegetable production and enable direct access to the fresh produce market.
Local farmers in Moran, Gobe, Kutubu and Hides can better participate in the fresh produce value chain and other ventures outside the extractive sectors thanks to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the three parties yesterday.
“The MoU will expand on Oil Search’s existing sustainable agriculture programs and will add direct value from farm to plate within our project impact areas.
“This will allow our local farmers to participate in and take ownership of the fresh produce market within our project communities through sustainable use of their land,” said Mr Leon Buskens, Oil Search senior vice president – External Affairs & Community.
“Our people will be provided quality training in nursery through to marketing of the produce to ensure target yield and quality are met.
“This will enhance food security and wellbeing for our farming communities as farmers will be able to grow more nutritious foods for their families.”
FPDA CEO Mark Worinu believes the partnership will ensure local farmers participate meaningfully in agricultural activities in food production, supply and consumption.
“This partnership with Oil Search will open new opportunities for us as an organisation and I am looking forward to supporting them in their vision to improve the lives of the local communities,” Mr Worinu said.
Peter Heno, PNG Mining and Petroleum Hospitality Services (PNGMPHS) chairman, said as a landowner company, PNGMPHS is extremely pleased to partner with Oil Search and FPDA.
“We bring the know-how in standardized marketing bench mark. So long as the produce meets our requirements, the surplus can reach shelves in Port Moresby and even be able to reach shelves in the Asian markets if the economic climate of PNG is conducive.
“I am happy to support this initiative by Oil Search and FPDA as it is a step in the right direction,” Mr Heno said.
“Synergies can be formed in this renewable resource and together as partners, we can deliver our aspirations for a sustainable future for our people, beyond the life of oil and gas.
“To our landowners, let us embrace this alternative approach in agriculture.”
The MoU signing supports the new government’s focus on boosting the renewable sectors and to make agriculture sector become the dominant contributor to PNG’s economy.