Hela Community Piggery Enterprise


Author: Meg Kauthen, Sustainability Designer

Economically empowering a community can be a ripple effect for progress in education, health, employment, gender equality and the reduction of poverty and inequality, and can lay the foundation for peaceful, secure and stable societies. This ripple effect is what we are starting to witness in Hela Province, Papua New Guinea, thanks to the Hela Community Piggery Enterprise (HCPE) which is enabling community members to earn an income from participating in the program.

The HCPE is a joint program between B4D and Wonderland Agristock Limited (WAL), a new commercial entity, led by landowner businesses, with community development at its core. Hela Province is one of the most remote regions of Papua New Guinea, where there is very little enterprise and economic opportunity. This year the B4D team has worked with over 800 farmers to grow kau kau (sweet potato) and cassava to be used as raw ingredients for pig stockfeed. As a result, over 51 tons of kau kau and cassava were purchased from smallholder farmers who participated in agronomic training. Noel, B4D’s Program Lead, advised “this is the best thing that could happen. To reconnect with farmers and build up their interest, thus fulfilling a key outcome of the program which is to empower the community financially by  growing and selling stockfeed.”

Another core part of the program is the building of a modern piggery. The piggery has been designed to exceed Australian welfare codes for freedom of movement, generous space and ensuring an enriched environment. WAL aims to have a herd of contented pigs cared for by people who have a deep attachment to their animals.

At the piggery, pigs will be grown to 6 weeks, and then distributed to smallholder farmers (service providers to WAL) who raise the pigs to 24 weeks. The pigs are raised in a village system incorporating biosecurity principles to keep African Swine Fever at a distance. Once fully grown, the pigs return to the piggery to be sold as live pigs and over time into processed pork, providing another means for community members to earn an income, and a much-needed source of protein in the region.

Due to the remote location, building a piggery is no simple undertaking. This financial year involved negotiating and leasing 5.4 hectares of and with local landowners; clearing of land; building a 90-ton capacity bunker for holding stockfeed at the farm, complimented by 60-ton capacity bunkers constructed at three model farms; shipping most building materials 726km from Lae to Nogoli; building a strong fence around the farm area; site works for water supply, plumbing, drainage, effluent disposal; construction of a farm road, dam, compost pad and setting up a power supply system for farm operation. To top it off, a shipping container had to be retrofitted so the sows purchased from the Boroma Piggery in Port Moresby are safely shipped to Lae, and then trucked to Nogoli, in September 2022.

Other activities include further training by farmers for farmers at 12 model farms on how to grow the stockfeed ingredients. The training included Hela Womens Group (Hela WALI Enterprise Ltd) who will earn a consistent income to support their families. Plus, with the local screen house constructed, the community can now access virus and disease free locally grown kau kau vines (resulting in increased yields and earnings).

A bit of detail to highlight what it takes to create a ripple effect in Hela. Through starting with what everyone in PNG knows best – growing kau kau and rearing pigs – to building the systems so men and women can be economically empowered. As a result, the HCPE will have a lasting positive impact on the province for generations to come.

Design by HEARD Agency