The Journey To Establishing A Community Piggery Enterprise In Hela Province, Papua New Guinea

Author: Noel Kuman, Agriculture Innovation & Enterprise Development Lead, Papua New Guinea

As the Agriculture Innovation & Enterprise Development Lead at Business for Development in Papua New Guinea (PNG), I have been working with the team, to create a Community Piggery Enterprise (CPE) program that has commercial and community outcomes in Hela. This is by no means a small feat. We are partnering on this journey with Wonderland Agristock Limited (WAL), a locally registered company in PNG owned by the five key Land Owner Companies (Trans Wonderland Ltd, Gigira Development Corporation, Mananda Umbrella Joint Venture and PNG Mining, Petroleum Hospitality Services and Hides Gas Development Company Ltd.), and Oil Search Limited.

I have delivered many community programs in my life and am very proud of this program as I see the potential, sustainable impact for the Hela community. The CPE is a transformative program aligning with the National Government’s focus on agriculture and community development throughout PNG. There is great potential through this program for the Hela Province communities to improve food security and nutrition, expand enterprise opportunities for communities, aid in the reduction of law and order issues, and provide a sustainable model for agricultural development. In addition, comprehensive business and financial models have been created so the program can be replicated in other areas of PNG.

All successful quests start with a plan. The program has been designed as a seven-phase approach to ensure the community impact is achieved in each phase and risks are managed carefully. The diagram below provides an overview by phase including community impact.

Phase 1: Stockfeed Field Trials and Production (currently being conducted). Phase 2: Commercial 200 Sow Nucleus Piggery Development. Phase 3 & 4: Outgrower Development and Expansion. Phase 5: Abattoir Development. Phase 6: National Distribution. Phase 7: Export Development.

Amidst the COVID-19 challenges, the team implemented the first stage of the program, the foundational feedstock production to support the CPE. From August-October this year, an awareness campaign was conducted to inspire the community on the program.

The response and support from the community to the program was very positive. By the end of November, a total of 1,912 community members have registered.

The next major step was to secure land to establish model farms to conduct Genotype x Environment (GXE) trial and select best-performing virus-free sweet potato varieties to introduce to the local environment. The selected varieties will be mass propagated together with hybrid cassava and legumes for distribution to community model farms for further propagation before they are distributed to community members registered to participate in the program. After successfully negotiating with the landowners, one hectare of land was assigned and another three hectares were made available by communities for model farm training.

As you can see from the photos, the enthusiasm for the program from the community was extraordinary. In October and November hundreds of people worked with the B4D team to prepare the land and plant the vines and tubers. It is expected that over 50,000 tonnes will be harvested in April 2021.

Planting materials were organised from outside the Province, transported to Juni, Hela and planted in Wonderland Agristock Limited (WAL) model farm at Pajiba and three other community model farms.

Excess cassava cuttings were distributed and planted in four other community model farms. WAL has seedlings growing in eight model farms including WAL model farm at Pajiba.

In the first half of 2021 respective crops will be harvested, with vines, cuttings and tubers distributed to community model farms for further propagation before distribution to farmers. The way we are propagating the planting material is like dominos. One domino falls, hitting three more, these hitting another nine, and so on. Therefore, in time all participating farmers will have access to healthy plant material to grow crops to either consume or sell to the market to make stockfeed. By April/May next year, there should be sufficient feed to support the arrival of first 20-30 breeding pigs.

The journey has just begun. We have made significant progress to developing a community-owned smallholder farmer piggery enterprise together with our partners and the Hela community.

Next year’s focus will be further propagation of planting material and establishing a sustainable piggery. The domino has only just fallen, and it is going to have a ripple effective to positively impact more members of the Hela community.

I look forward to sharing more with you next year.


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