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Yangoru - Saussia poised for Economic Growth

WEWAK, ESP, WEDNESDAY 19TH JUNE 2019 --- Yangoru Saussia District in East Sepik Province is now preparing for major economic growth with several key agriculture projects ready to be launched this year.

Member for Yangoru Saussia and Minister for National Planning, Hon Richard Maru’s visit to his District was the first since the formation of the new Government and he took the time to thank his people for their patience and support during the height of the political activities.

The Minister was accompanied by members of his district administration and partners of the District including the Cocoa Board of PNG, Innovative Agro Industries Limited, UN Women, Bank South Pacific, and the Divine Word University.

Speaking to thousands at Yangoru Station on Monday, Minister Maru assured the people that the district’s plans will go ahead as planned, beginning with the much anticipated Momase Regional Nursery in the Sepik Plains to be completed by November this year.

Spearheaded by the Cocoa Board of PNG, CEO Boto Gaupu, said, once completed, the cocoa nursery will have a capacity of producing 2 million cocoa seedlings every year and be supplied to East Sepik, West Sepik, Madang and Morobe, making it the largest cocoa nursery in the Momase region and the country. Mr Gaupu said the first 80,000 seedlings will be ready for release for planting come April 2020.

Mr Gaupu said currently, Yangoru Saussia produces K12 million in export revenue for cocoa and from this, K10 million is circulated within the district. So far, the cocoa nursery sheds have already been put up and building materials for the residents have already arrived in Wewak for assembling. Contract has also been awarded for the ring roads to be built around the nursery sheds. Mr Gaupu said the project will be ready to be launched before the year’s end.

The Sepik Chicken, Grain and Cocoa Innovative Project run by Israeli company, Innovative Agro Industries Limited, will come into production in November this year. Chief Executive Officer, Lior Crystal, said the Sepik Plains is the jewel in the crown in PNG and with its fertile lands, has the potential to be the “food basket” of the region, nation and even the neighbouring countries. He said IAIL as a long-term partner, is here to stay.

“Today we are already on site, in construction and in the coming year 2020, you will have an operational large-scale commercial agriculture project in Yangoru Saussia,” Crystal told an ecstatic crowd.

He said the East Sepik Province will have a high-tech agriculture project where it will produce its own eggs and chicken meat, grow its own grains and produce the stock feed.

“We will have a cocoa processing centre, so all of you who are growing cocoa in the region will make your product better and will get better prices. Not only that, we are now working together with Minister Maru to do an Out-grower Program so we will not only do things inside the fence and inside the farm, we will also work directly with the out-growers. And us Israelis I can promise, we will work step by step together with you, we are partners for the long term and we will succeed,” Crystal said.

With the boost in the agriculture sector, the District has also entered into a partnership with the UN Women to establish markets. UN Women representative, Brenda Andrias, said already the designs have been completed for four road-side markets namely, Kusawun, Paparom, Wamaiyang, Yekimbole and the major market at Yangoru Station. The major market will also include a transit house for farmers who travel long distances to rest.

With all the economic activities happening in the district, Minister Maru asked Bank South Pacific to establish a fully-fledged branch at Yangoru Station to make banking more convenient for the people in the district to access the services. Bank South Pacific General Manager Retail, Paul Thornton, said the district will definitely need a bigger bank than the current one. He said plans have already been drawn up for the new branch and work is scheduled to commence next month.

“It will take a bit of time but it will be a bigger branch, so that if you want to apply for a personal loan or an SME loan, you do it here. It will have two ATM’s so that you can also use it after hours,” Mr Thornton said.

BSP has been in Yangoru since 2013 with about 7,000 customers. Mr Thornton said with all the activity that is going to happen and with the growing population, the bank must have more customers opening accounts.

“We’re going to open up accounts so that you learn to get into the habit of saving, so that when you leave school and when you get into agriculture, you’ve got savings there that you can fall onto. And that you get into the habit of budgeting your money, so that you don’t waste it. We have financial literacy training and we have banking education, there is a lot of things that we can do here,” Mr Thornton said.

Minister Maru acknowledged that maintaining Law & Order alongside any economic projects is an integral part of the process. East Sepik Provincial Police Commander Albert Beli, thanked Minister Maru for his initiative to bring over MS13 Police Mobile Squad from Lae to his district to assist police operations. The initiative has proven successful and the PPC requested for the arrangement to continue after the 3 months contract period is over.

When concluding his talk, Minister Maru remined his people in the district to change their attitudes in order to adjust to and accommodate the major changes in the district.

“Think of the future of our children in Yangoru Saussia. Yangoru Saussia must never remain the same. We must never live in the past. Stop the drunken and disorderly behaviour and start saving money and investing to participate in some of these projects happening at your doorsteps. Change is coming whether you like it or not so we need to correct our attitudes and embrace these new changes.” Minister Maru urged.


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