Products: Rubber, Rice, Eaglewood
Program Phase: Sustained
Program Partner: Ok Tedi Development Foundation’s (OTDF)
Year Completed: 2018
The Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) is the legal entity that manages community development benefits from the Ok Tedi mine on behalf of the 147,000 Lake Murray and Fly River residents. These communities occupy 158 villages throughout the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) corridor in Western Province, PNG.
OTDF’s long-term vision is to “ensure the self-sustainability of and to improve the quality of life of Western Province communities”.
Western Province is PNG’s largest province by area, yet also one of the least developed. Given its remote nature and lack of access to resources, agricultural development is seen as one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and improve food security for the region.
Business for Development worked with the OTDF to develop and execute a number of strategies:
- Rubber trees had previously been established in the region, but with a boat visiting annually for rubber collection, cash flow and income was insufficient for farmers. Business for Development established a partnership between OTDF and OLAM, a commodities trader, improving logistics and enabling more frequent collections of sap (or cup lump), allowing farmers to tap the rubber more often and earn a more regular income.
- In 2017, a partnership was formed with Trukai Industries to develop commercial rice trials in four villages. The trials reviewed several varieties of rice to determine the most suitable alternatives in three regions of Western Province.
- Eaglewood, dark resinous wood used in incense and perfume production, was researched as a potential option for OTDF. Although a high value crop, it takes approximately 20 years to mature. Business models were developed on how rubber and rice could provide income until the eaglewood was productive.
By working together, the following was achieved:
- In 2018, a total of 82,020kgs of raw cup lump was bought and exported by OLAM in Singapore, with a further 47,743 kgs collected in 2019. Collectively, a total of 208 growers from 66 villages benefited from the PGK68,900 paid for the cup lump in 2018.
- As a result of the rice trials, a 40ha commercial rice operation at Kaviananga, in the Middle Fly has been developed.
- The eaglewood review gave OTDF the confidence to invest in the crop, and in 2018, 172,079 seedlings were distributed to 5,608 growers across 96 CMCA villages.
In 2018, OTDF developed the WestAgro Development Plan, which saw the OTDF Board allocate PGK38.1 million from the CMCA to establish three initial Agro Industrial Centres which support communities to drive long-term economic growth through farmer services, and commercial nucleus hubs.