Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update from Bulolo MP Sam Basil in Australia

 I have met with Tim Costello (World Vision), Siemens, Newcrest, Radio Australia Tok Pisin Service and Pacific Beat, Australian Volunteer Services, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton.

I am in Canberra tonight (last night) and will see the Australian Parliament question time, meet with the Foreign Minister of Australia, AusAID plus others.

Will send you another update.






Bulolo MP makes a 'sweet' move to honey

Caption: Areas of Bulolo, such as Mainyanda, would be ideal for raising bees.


Bulolo MP Sam Basil has made moves to ensure his electorate benefits from the lucrative honey market.

He has committed K40, 000 from the Bulolo district agricultural programme to be used to conduct training for 40 bee farmers to learn how to breed bees for small-scale commercial markets.

 “Parts of the Bulolo terrain are rugged but there is abundant wild flora,” Mr Basil said.

“Naturally, these plants provide many flowers, and where you have flowers – nectar – the primary raw material for honey.”

He has engaged the services of a team from Goroka to start the intensive training in the third week of March.

Team leader Tela Aloye commended Mr Basil for this initiative to reap the sweet benefits of honey.

“Bee keeping is a low labour- intensive task,” he said.

“The bees do all the work gathering the nectar to make honey in their honey combs or beehives.

 “All the bee farmer needs to do is to simply check the beehives and harvest or scoop the honey, package it and sell it.”      

A kilogramme of honey is currently sold at K10 so a farmer can earn up to K200 or K300 from each of his beehive, as each beehive can contain between 20-30 kilos of honey.

“I also want my people to use honey as a natural-sweetener for their tea or coffee as sugar has become too expensive for many of them,” Mr Basil said.

“Honey is a health form of nutrition for the people if used regularly.”


The State is just a spectator

Guns proliferate in Papua New Guinea and are a major contributing factor to the country’s ongoing massive law and order problem. The National, Papua New Guinea’s leading daily newspaper, was on the dot again with this frank editorial today.


THE State’s authority as the enforcer of the rule of law and adjudicator of justice has come under serious threat because of its failure to adequately address the issue of the proliferation of illegal guns and their use in PNG.

There are arms races happening in communities throughout the country as men jostle each other to acquire the latest guns in order to protect their families and communities.

It is not merely an issue of crime. Guns have become a deeply ingrained social issue involving entire communities and the leaders of PNG.

The Guns Committee was established in 2005 with retired Brig Gen Jerry Singirok as chairman. It immediately undertook a nationwide assessment of guns proliferation and related issues.

The team spoke to a large cross-section of the population in all 20 provinces. Papua New Guineans and expatriates spoke passionately about guns and the cost to the nation of their illegal use. Out of the concerns came a huge report with 244 recommendations which was presented to the Prime Minister.

This report is yet to be presented to Parliament. This inaction by the Government is worrying and even suspicious. It is almost as if the Government wanted the status quo to persist.

Guns have become more than just a criminal problem.

In the Highlands, the presence and use of illegal guns is felt greatest. Where once tribal fight was pitting men against each other on the open battlefield, today it has been reduced to a merciless killing spree.

In the old days, tribal fight was itself a conflict resolution method, albeit the last resort. When all else failed, the conflicting parties decided to test their strength on the battle field to see who would be the ultimate winner.

Today, it is a merciless war of attrition in which opponents gun each other down from hiding, in ambushes and raids. Opponents mean to completely wipe out the existence of the other.

Entire villages have been wiped out as a result and whole communities have been displaced permanently, most of whom are to be found in urban settings such as Lae and Port Moresby – adding to the squatter problem. Often the animosities follow these migrants into the cities so that the nation had witnessed gruesome payback killings right in the centre of towns in broad daylight.

The gun has transformed most Highlands societies so that today its influence is on par with pigs, money and four-wheel drives as a tool of status, power, wealth and intimidation.

Guns have also tilted the balance of power. Now real power rests in the hands of the person or group with the most powerful gun.

The gun’s role in society is not lost on politicians. Many politicians, both in power and those aspiring, have easy access to guns if they do not themselves own them now.

Many have financed purchases of guns and ammunition, particularly in preparation for general elections. Perhaps there is resounding silence in Parliament and lack of action on the recommendations of the Singirok Committee because many of the politicians cannot be seen to go against the very source of power which might have got them into Parliament in the first place.

Only two politicians – Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat – have spoken out often about this important issue.

Speaking for the Highlands, Mr Ipatas told fellow governors last March in Manus: “A frightening aspect of the guns issue is that in most rural parts of the Highlands provinces, the rule of law is being replaced by anarchy, chaos and the rule of the gun. Mercenaries and gunmen are thriving and ruling using fear and intimidation, and State institutions, which are not equipped to deal with such cases, are reduced to playing the role of insignificant spectators.”

Mr Ipatas said the current state of affairs was a catalyst to promote arms races in communities around the country to procure guns at all costs to protect their families, homes, lands, way of life and the right to life.

This desire to own guns has provided fertile ground for an alternate illicit industry – trading in guns, drugs and other high paying illicit goods – which threaten the lawful industries.

The Government’s failure to act on the Guns Summit recommendations has dissipated all hopes and confidence in the State to effectively address the problem. If anything, if would appear the arms race is racing ahead unimpeded, undermining the State’s authority to enforce the rule of law and adjudicate justice in the country.



Hold-up drama in Kandrian

Mark J Reichman from the New Tribes Mission in Kandrian, West New Britain province, writes this dramatic report of an attempted hold-up by armed criminals at remote Kandrian airstrip on Monday this week. Masked bandits dramatically forced the pilot of a New Tribes Mission plan to abort landing.


ON Monday, at 11am on my way to the Kandrian airport, I stopped and picked up four guys (two of whom wanted to fly to Hoskins, Andrew and Pius).

I then picked female passenger (name withheld) and her brother from the Peter PNG store in Kandrian.

Afterwards, I went to the hospital and picked up a sick man, Lukas, his wife Ana and the HEO Kaspar.

We drove to the airport and waited for the New Tribes Mission plane. While we waited, many of the passengers sought shade in the terminal building. Only myself, the female passenger and her brother were in the truck.

At 11:30am, we heard the drone of the airplane engine. At the same time, my son Jared, who was standing outside the driver’s door said “there’s trouble”.

I turned around and saw masked men with long barrelled guns coming out of the tall grass and walking towards the truck.

I don’t know why, maybe it was because my truck was stolen last July by a drunk or because of being assaulted in September by another drunk or because Johnson Trading in Gasmata was held up by armed robbers or Peter PNG held up in December by armed robbers and the Tiana Spirit being stoned by drunks and having no police in Kandrian to report incidents to, instinctively made me start the truck and take off.

I sped away while six armed, masked men chased me down the airstrip.

As I sped away I said a little prayer of “is there a chance I could end my missionary career today?” but had a peace that wasn’t going to be the case.

I turned to the left to find a side road that would bring me back to the airport apron but the armed men also turned and I saw they would be able to intercept us so I straightened out and continued down the centre of the airstrip.

At this time the female passenger said she had a lot of money with her.

Looking in my mirror, I counted six men chasing us and we were getting away. I also saw the NTM plane making his final turn so I slowed the truck down and flashed my lights repeatedly at the plane as the pilot made his final approach. He saw my signal and aborted his landing.

I proceeded to the end of the airstrip but having nowhere further to drive, I turned the truck around and stopped.

The armed men were continuing to walk down the centre of the airstrip towards us so I asked the female passenger if “she wanted to give up her money?”

Before she could answer, I told my passengers to lay down across the backseat. I waited thinking if I sped past them it would be unlikely they could hit a fast moving vehicle and as they were getting closer, I took off back down the airstrip heading straight towards the assailants.

They were waving their guns defiantly in the air. I last saw my speedometer reading 60kph as I veered right at a group of three armed men who quickly fled. I then saw an armed man on my left with a long barrelled gun so I turned the truck towards him.

As I bore down on him, he ran to the side and I continued my pursuit leaving the karanas and onto the grass. When I got about 50 feet away, I swerved to avoid the armed man at which time he lowered his gun. I swerved to the right and laid down across the seat. I heard the gun fire which sounded more like a .303 than a shotgun.

Believing he only had the one bullet, I quickly sat up as the truck was now speeding across the karanas on the strip. I fish tailed to the right then got the truck under control and saw another man on the left side of the strip waving something in the air so I aimed for him as well.

He was way off to the side of the centre of the strip in the grass so again I left the karanas and aimed for him which sent him fleeing. I did not chase him very long and returned to the centre of the strip. I then made my way back to the apron area looking in my mirror and seeing the armed men were not in pursuit of me any longer, I relaxed.

(I was told later by Jared that he saw them follow a path to the east side of the airstrip towards the village of Amungsong. He remembered seeing one pump action gun, and one home- made gun without a butt. He also saw a cloud of black smoke that he believed was the gun that had fired.

(Although the truck was spewing out black smoke as well, he said this was a “puff” of black smoke he saw after I passed the armed man. He then saw the truck swerving and thought the bullet had hit a tyre but that is not the case. We checked the truck and there were no bullet holes.)

A bunch of people had gathered on the apron as the NTM plane flew overhead. We cleared the apron and the NTM airplane landed. We unloaded the plane at which time three trucks full of men came up to the apron area. Amongst them was the female passenger’s husband and he was carrying a 9mm pistol. Six passengers loaded the plane and four trucks went up and down the airstrip before stopping alongside the airstrip while the plane took off. At 1pm all the trucks came down the hill in close procession.

We did not report the incident to any police in Kandrian because there are no police here to report it to.

The pilot later commented: “Getting closer, I could see that the men chasing the truck were waving their bush knives in a murderous fashion. Wait! Is that a shotgun? He is aiming it at me! I banked the aircraft sharply to the right toward lower terrain. I think I’m still too far away for an effective shot if he pulled the trigger, but I pushed hard for distance and altitude.”

Latest update: On Tuesday, at 7pm, “more than four” armed men broke into the female passenger’s residence and demanded that her husband come out of his room. A man was holding a shotgun and when the husband opened the door, he fired his 9mm.

The man ran and fired his shotgun back hitting the wall leaving a 4-inch hole in the plywood. Another shotgun was fired low and pellets hit another person in the house in the calf, causing minor injuries. The husband fired another shot. The armed men fled leaving a trail of blood on the verandah.

The townspeople mustered around the residence but the gunmen had already fled.

Power sector needs competition

Since last December, we’ve been having constant electricity blackouts, water cuts, etc, etc, and the people of Port Moresby – and the whole for Papua New Guinea for that matter – are getting absolutely fed up. We want – and demand – better services! The National newspaper, PNG’s leading daily newspaper, hit the nail on the head (or rather, coffin) with this head-hitting editorial yesterday, which basically sums up the frustration of all Papua New Guineas.


MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge is not alone in directing his anger at PNG Power Ltd.

The intermittent power outages throughout the country are getting worse.

The aggregate cost to the economy of lost production, damaged electronic goods and purchase and maintenance of back-up power supply units is substantial.

Put another way, if interruption to electricity supply were not as frequent as they are now, the economy would be far better off than it is at present. The cost of doing business would be lower.

It is unimaginable for us at The National to operate without a back-up generator.

Almost every other business in PNG has to have a generator. Investing in back-up power, in uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units, and in power guards might be optional in other places. In PNG, these items are an essential cost of doing business.

Last year, PNG Chamber of Commerce president David Conn told a breakfast gathering attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu that chamber members were contemplating taking class action against the electricity supplier.

One member had lost K500, 000 worth of an electronic component of a press plant, which he had installed only one week earlier. It would be difficult to estimate just how much electrical and electronic equipment had been lost as a result of power outages or power surges.

Some of the power surges are so massive that they rip through power guards to blow up power boards of sensitive equipment.

Apart from loss of expensive equipment, loss of production as a result of interrupted work flow and loss of business are immeasurable.

One power surge in Waghi Valley last December took out every computer, television set and electronic gadget that was connected to a power socket. More than K100, 000 worth of equipment was lost.

Mr Conn said he had to operate out of hotel business centres for 26 weeks during power outages. “This is no way to conduct business anywhere,” he told that breakfast gathering.

It certainly isn’t.

Anywhere else, this farce would not be tolerated. The entire board and management would be sacked and a new team named only after a few months of intermittent power outages.

We have had to put up with this nonsense for years. And there appears to be no end to it.

Port Moresby’s electricity needs are supplied through three different sources.

The Rouna Hydro grid, which takes power through three different stations, supplies part of the capital’s power needs, while the Korean Hanjung diesel generated power at Kanudi supplies the balance. The Moitaka diesel generators are normally operated as back-up power but it is said they are now, more or less, operating full time.

Despite these different sources, power outages in Port Moresby are a fact of life.

It is not only Port Moresby that experiences blackouts. Lae, Madang and the Highlands, which are served by the Yonki Hydro facility, experience frequent power cuts too.

Some of the townships, such as Madang, have diesel power back-up, but even that does not seem to hold up when the Yonki power supply is interrupted.

What makes it doubly frustrating is that nobody, not board members, not management, not the public affairs office of PNG Power, is coming forward to explain what exactly is the cause of the power outages.

Any concentrated class action against PNG Power, were it contemplated and even taken up, stands a good chance of winning. This is because losses due to power outages are measurable. Power outages are so frequent that “accidents” as a defence in court would be laughable.

It is time the Government took serious stock of the power situation in the country. If PNG Power has capacity problems, perhaps it is time to bring in other power suppliers to help out.

We can suggest, for instance, that a tender should be let for expressions of interest for supply of power to towns outside the Yonki power grid such as Wewak, Vanimo, Kimbe, Kokopo, Rabaul, Lorengau, Kavieng and Buka. This will allow PNG Power to concentrate its resources on improving electricity supply in the capital and to those towns connected by the Yonki Hydro power scheme.

If PNG Power cannot improve services at that point, direct competition should be introduced in these centres as well.

Competition, as we have seen with the telephony business, is sure to wake PNG Power up.

Papua New Guinea gets BlackBerry, thanks to Digicel

DIGICEL has finally launched the BlackBerry cellphone technology in Papua New Guinea to cater for the needs of businessmen and professionals, The National  reports.

A first in the country, this means Digicel, which is still on 2.5 Generation System, is now using GPRS technology that supports e-mail, voice and text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services.

GPRS refers to general packet radio service, a packet oriented mobile data service available to users of the 2G-2.5G cellular communication system called global system for mobile communications (GSM), as well as in the 3G systems.

GPRS enhances 2G and 2.5 systems to work close to the performance of 3G networks.

With BlackBerry, the user can check Hotmail, update FaceBook, IM Friends on Skype, Google Talk, or read the news online.

BlackBerry, a wireless handheld device, is used by more than 20 million subscribers across the world.

“It is a mobile office for the dynamic professional,” was how John Mangos, Digicel PNG chief executive described their new offering.

This new product comes after the Digicel launched its mobile internet (Port Moresby only).

However, the new service would be rolled out to other parts of the country in the coming months.

Subscribers with internet-capable handsets can access the web via their Digicel handset, starting in the National Capital District and Lae next week.

Digicel says it will roll-out BlackBerry and GPRS services across PNG in coming months.

“Blackberry will allow the users manage their business and online activities, while away from the desk, and on the road,” Mr Mangos said.

“Digicel has set another mobile telecommunications landmark for PNG, with the introduction of Blackberry. Now users will be able to work on the go, with their email and office functions on their Blackberry smart phone.

“Digicel believes this will add to the ease and efficiency of doing business in PNG, which would in turn boost overall economic productivity and development in this country,” Mr Mangos said.

Digicel’s Blackberry roll-out comprises three handsets (pictured above): the Bold (K1, 799); Curve (K1, 399); and Pearl (K1, 199) and are available to Digicel’s post-paid subscribers only.

Blackberry Silver has 20MB with monthly fee of K70; gold, 100MB (K155); and platinum, 500MB (K335).


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top agriculture meeting in Madang

A top-level agricultural meeting is scheduled to be held in Madang from March 23 – 27.

The National Agriculture Council is an important agricultural forum attended by all the chairpersons of the provincial agriculture and economic portfolios, including agricultural commodity boards under the chairmanship of National Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, to deliberate on major agricultural polices and strategies.

Stakeholders including relevant government agencies, private sector, institutions and donor partners are usually invited as observers.

Among the key issues expected to be discussed at the Madang meeting are ways to work together to promote growth in agriculture and the effective implementation of the National Agriculture Development Plan.

Presentations will be made on the country’s agriculture sector, food security, human resources development for agriculture, public sector reforms for agriculture, challenges of climate change on agriculture and food security, bioenergy and biofuels prospects, agriculture credit, land mobilisation, district services improvement programme and others.

The Department of Agriculture and Livestock is busy making preparations for the meeting.



Rice galore in Morobe



RICE farming in Morobe province has gradually gained momentum with rural communities seeing its economic potential (picture above shows a rice growing display at the 2005 Morobe Show).

According to the Morobe division of agriculture and livestock production summary of 2008, Morobe produced more than 16,000 tonnes of paddy rice compared to 780 tonnes in 2003.

Provincial food and livestock coordinator Amos Buieba said many prospective rice farmers were realising the importance of rice.

“People can grow not only grow rice for own consumption and supplement for other staple food but can be able to sell the surplus,” he said.

Mr Buieba said that most of the current small holder rice farmers were from Markham, Huon Gulf, Bulolo and Finschhafen.

He said farmers from Tewai-Siassi and Nawaeb were beginning to grow rice after discovering that it was convenient to grow and store.

Generally rice farming in the province is on a small scale, supporting household consumption

 However, Mr Buieba believed that with accessible facilities and technologies, rice farming had a potential of becoming commercially-viable on a large scale.

He said most smallholder farmers had less than 1 hectare of rice field that was manually dug and prepared because they did not have access to tractors.




Papua New Guinea vanilla farmers expect improved prices

Papua New Guinea farmers have been urged to produce high quality vanilla in anticipation of increased prices in the near future.

The PNG Spice Industry Board has predicted a demand for our vanilla due to an expected short supply on the world market.

Chief executive officer Michael Waisime has called on registered spice exporters to advice farmers to reactivate and rehabilitate their vanilla farms as prices were expected to increase favorably during this harvest season.

More awareness and training amongst farmers is needed to maintain proper curing practices to improve quality.

Exporters were reminded to coordinate with their farmers to produce high-grade vanilla to maximise on this market opportunity.

Mr Waisime said this week that the world’s major supplier of vanilla, Madagascar, has had 80% of its vanilla plantings affected by an underground incurable crop disease.

Civil unrest in the country has also affected vanilla production.

He said supply of vanilla on the world market was down by 60 per cent and the shortfall needed to be met by other vanilla producing countries including PNG.

He said PNG, the fourth-largest producer, stood to gain with increased demand for its vanilla and subsequently prices for organic vanilla was expected to rise worldwide.

Mr Waisime said according to information received by the SIB, there might be massive government intervention including appropriate research work to revive the vanilla industry in Madagascar.

 It was estimated that world supply of vanilla would face a shortfall for the next five years or more.

Mr Waisime said his office had detailed a number of measures that registered spice exporters needed to adhere to.

These include submitting 2008 export returns and statements, review of forward contract sale for 2009, and review of farm gate prices.

He urged exporters, producers and interested people to contact his office for more information.

However, observers in the spice industry have cautioned the vanilla producers and farmers nationwide not to get excited like what was experienced several years ago when PNG had a vanilla boom.

PNG producers must not get carried away and should seek more information from the SIB and agricultural agencies.

New film shows that we are what we eat

Captions: 1. DVD cover of Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi. 2. Michel and Jude Fanton in India. 3. Seed Savers’ logo


In Melanesian countries such as Papua New Guinea, most of the traditional food crops such as kaukau (sweet potato), taro, yams, bananas and greens such as aibika are propagated by cuttings or tubers.

People from the coast and mountains, in this day and age, continue to barter their food crops when there is no cash around.

Food plants continue to be used in traditional ceremonies or traditions such as birth, marriage, death and many others.

For instance, the yam festival in the Trobriand Islands of Milne Bay, the banana festival in the Markham Valley of Morobe, and the moka in the Highlands which involves mountains of kaukau supplemented by pigs.

However, big changes are coming, and these may impact on a way of life that has been passed on from generation to generation.

Chemical agriculture is becoming the trend in our islands and the mainland, and hybrid seeds mass-produced by multi-national corporations are becoming the norm, which have a huge impact on our farming culture.

Have you noticed when hybrid seeds are grown that sprays have to be used because of insect or fungal damage?

Have you tried to save the seed of hybrid/F1 maize – now popular all over Port Moresby with the current rain - or other crops?

The quality, of course, is a lot poorer.

These losses are happening in villages all over PNG, and many villagers can tell you of varieties of bananas, yams, kaukau and taro that are not seen any more.

White rice, flour, noodles and Coca-Cola are replacing what our people have been eating and drinking since time immemorial.

Rice comes in different qualities, some a lot healthier than others, however, there is only one available in our shops.

Who thinks that there is chicken, beef or prawns in packet noodles?

Answer: None, just chemical flavours that taste like the picture on the packet.

There is also an obvious relationship between going less to the bush gardens and health, as our grandfathers didn’t have heart attacks, diabetes or were overweight.

This is the crux of a powerful new film, Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi, which will be launched at the Moresby Arts Theatre by Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu next Monday night.

I had the chance to watch the film with my children on Wednesday night, thanks to a complimentary DVD from Seed Savers’ Network husband and wife directors Michel and Jude Fanton, and could not stop worrying about the future of my young ones after that.

Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi is a 57-minute film shot in 11 countries and made for Pacific audiences that celebrates traditional foods and the plants they grow from.

The film introduces to the people of the Pacific the varied people who save seeds and stand at the source of humanity’s diverse food heritage.

This is a David and Goliath story where resilience and persuasive logic triumph over seemingly-invincible giant corporations.

Pacific islanders face great challenges to their way of life, their culture and their traditional cultivation methodologies.

They fall into the trap of replacing resilient food crop varieties with modern hybrids that require pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

They replace innumerable varieties of root staples with imported low quality starch such as white rice, biscuits and noodles.

This film seeks to reverse this trend in such ways as:


•           Bringing back the good food;

•           Recognising that traditional varieties are better;

•           Growing mixed gardens;

•           ‘Sharing food’ between people in urban areas such as Port Moresby, Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Honiara (Solomon Islands);

•           The return of the local seed;

•           Joining the seed keepers;

•           Becoming a seed keeper; and

•           Celebrating the seed keepers:


Directors Michel and Jude Fanton shot 195 hours in 11 countries: Spain, France, Italy, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands.

In PNG, the film is shot in the Tari area of Southern Highlands province.

The film features Pacific islanders as they face great challenges to their way of life, their many cultures and their traditional cultivation methodologies.

They fall into the same traps as people in Westernised countries: they replace innumerable varieties of root staples with modern hybrids that require pesticides and chemical fertilisers; they import low quality starch such as white rice, biscuits and noodles and risk losing their resilient food crops.

 The Fantons have developed instructive motion graphics and a rich sound track, mostly indigenous music recorded in the making of the film.

Audio options are original English soundtrack and Pacific Pigin.

Subtitle options are English and French.

The Fantons hope the government-owned National Television Service will screen the film as the governments of Western Samoa, American Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu did last year, repeatedly.

The Seed Savers' Network – website - was founded in 1986 to preserve the diversity of cultural plants.

 Its activities included a newsletter, seed exchange, seed bank, frequent events and workshops and the publication of a best selling handbook on the subject in Australia.

“Our work is funded solely by our subscribers, supporters and generous gifts,” the Fantons says.

“We function on very limited resources, with the help of many volunteers.

“Some of our achievements:

•           We have had over 5,500 varieties come through our seed bank;

•           Over 10,000 people have been directly involved with Seed Savers;

•           20,000 sample packets of original seeds are made up each year by volunteers from the Tamborine Mountain Seed Savers' group for us to give away. Banora Point Garden Club near Tweed Heads began packing seeds too in March 1997;

•           23,000 copies of The Seed Savers' Handbook sold in the first 10 years;

•           Over 1,300 varieties of seeds and other planting materials are offered in our Spring newsletters;

•           Seed Savers' has helped to establish Seed Networks in a number of other countries such as Cambodia, East Timor, Ecuador, India, Japan, Solomon Islands and The Philippines.”

The Fantons can be contacted on email or mobile 711 246 23. To watch the film launching, contact Moresby Arts Theatre on mobile 71921848.



Baki thanks Chinese Government for assistance

Police Commissioner Gari Baki thanked the Chinese Government yesterday for donating 10 computers to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
Mr Baki said: “Computers are essential to the daily administration and operation of the police force and the contribution from the Chinese government would help to maintain logistical sustainability, within the department.
 “I am grateful because we need computers to proficiently run our daily administration and operations.
“Computers are not only expensive but are delicate software. 
“They easily become outdated and are prone to malfunction over time.”
Commissioner Baki added: “The Constabulary has spent millions of kina over the years to equip and maintain its computer assets in police stations nationwide and such generous assistance would greatly help to reduce the cost of replacing its old ones. 
“These assets are important to our work and we are grateful to receive such items from our generous friends.
“We appreciate the kind gesture of the Chinese government and Chinese Ambassador Wei Ruixing.
“We will utilise these assets meaningfully in our duty as a law enforcement agency.”
 The computers will be used at Bomana Police College for training purposes and at Police Headquarters for administrative purposes.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Security guard arrested for carrying gun

Police have issued a stern warning to security firms to refrain from carrying and exposing hire powered firearms in public without reasonable excuse or face the risk of prosecution.

Director of Crimes acting Chief Superintendent Donald Yamasombi made this call after detectives arrested and charged a security guard in Port Moresby for carrying a firearm without a license on February 18.

Police alleged the defendant Eliakim Ekope, 30 from Keregia village,  Finschhafen in the Morobe province,  was carrying a Morsberg 12-gauge pump action shotgun, serial number L527415, without reasonable excuse at SVS Harbour Supermarket in Konedobu.

Police seized his employer’s gun license and detained him after discovering that Ekope was only specifically authorised to carry a Sig 9mm pistol serial number 0030373.

Mr Yamasombi said gun licenses issued to security firms are specifically for armed escorts in the transfer of cash and other valuables and security personnel should not carry guns while on static guard duties.

They should not carry high powered weapons without reasonable excuse in public view and cause unnecessary fear and anxiety in the hearts and minds of ordinary citizens.

He warned that police would be monitoring the way all civilians were handling their licensed firearms to ensure all gun owners observe the country’s gun laws.



Donald Yamasombi

Director Crimes

Police Headquarters


Mount Hagen fuel supplies suspended due to landslip

Fuel deliveries to Mount Hagen have been suspended after a landslip cut the Highlands Highway near Kundiawa.

InterOil Products Limited General Manager Peter Diezmann says stocks of unleaded petrol (ULP) are now almost exhausted.

"At the moment we are holding a mere 600 litres of ULP which is strictly reserved for use by emergency services".

This week's scheduled deliveries have been cancelled because of the landslip.

InterOil's bulk fuel contract carrier has assessed the section of damaged highway as a 'high risk' for the passage of road tankers fully laden with fuel.

Mr. Diezmann said that safety and protection of people and the environment is the company's first priority.

"Fuel tankers will not traverse the damaged section of highway until the area has been assessed by to be safe and stable for the transport of fuel tankers".

Mr. Diezmann said InterOil currently has less than a fortnight's supply of both diesel and kerosene available for Mount Hagen.

"At this stage there are no plans to ration either fuel"  

"Aviation fuel is also running down with Kagamuga holding about 9 days of Jet A-1".

"We are hopeful that the authorities will act to ensure that the highway will be reopened before stocks reach a critical level".

The safety of the tanker drivers is paramount and no deliveries will be attempted until we are given the all clear by authorities", Mr. Diezmann said.

"Masul police are continuing to monitor the situation as is InterOil's road transport contractor".

"As yet we have no indication as to when the repair works will commence".

"I can re-assure all of our customers that we will do all that is possible to bring in fresh supplies as soon as it is safe to do so", Mr Diezmann said.

"But we can do nothing until then".

"The risk to people and the environment would be too great to do otherwise", he said.



For further in formation

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations - InterOil Corporation

Ph: 321 7040

Mobile: 684 5168



Monday, February 23, 2009

Inaugural Agri Trade Expo set for June in Kimbe

KIMBE, West New Britain Province, is all geared up for the inaugural Agri Trade Expo scheduled for June 6-7, 2009.
Chairman of the Agri Trade Expo Andrew Runawery (pictured left) announced this in Port Moresby last Friday.
This year’s expo is specifically tailored to harness two awesome days of fun-filled activities for corporate houses, government institutions and statutory bodies, mon-government organisations, donour agencies, small farmers and aspiring agri entrepreneurs to demonstrate, promote, educate and exhibit their products and services to the general public.
“We are providing an avenue for effect communication or dissemination of information at the expo,” Mr Runawery said.
“The province is growing politically, socially and economically.
“Sometimes referred to as the ‘oil palm province’, it was the first in the country to trial the government-established oil palm industry in 1967.
“Since then it has never looked back.
“There are now 40 plantation estates and 30 resettlement schemes to date, including numerous village oil palm blocks.
West New Britain is now a leader in the agriculture sector in the Islands Region.
“The province also has abundant natural resources such as timber, fisheries, cattle and also gold, which is currently in its advanced exploration stage at Mt Pench.
“There are also other cash crops supporting the local economy, that is, copra and cocoa. “However, palm oil still remains the major income earner.”
Mr Runawery said this was a new concept initiative in Kimbe.
“The Agri Expo concept is linked to and complements other existing plans and policies which the government has endorsed, and is in accord with the core development strategy Medium Term Development Strategy 2005-2010 (Department of National Planning and Rural Development, 2004), and consistent with the requirement to empower Papua New Guineans to mobilise their own resources for a higher living standard.
“We are committed in supporting all stakeholders to sustained growth which will increase our position of strength and enlarge our worth to the community.
“We will create an environment that recognises, rewards, provides personal growth, self-esteem and above all, empower Papua New Guineans to mobilise their own resources for a higher living standard.”
Mr Runawery said this event endeavored to sow a seed into the mindsets of this generation, the next and beyond in West New Britain to stay at home and work the land.
“It is fertile and there are spin-off projects that one can engage into from palm oil or start something new,” he said.
“There is no need to flock into the other major centres to look for opportunities.
“Education and the Job market is ‘bottled necked’ there.
“Flocking into these centres creates further congestion and adds to more social issues.
“The event has been given tremendous support in its early stages by the both the corporate sector and government institutions.
“A numbers of PNG’s leading finance institutions and agri business houses were amongst the first to book/secure stall placings upon the event’s first announcement.
“Special reservations were made to cater for the Health Department to conduct awareness on HIV AIDS, TB and also various law enforcement agencies to conduct awareness on social issues.
“This year’s event will be a catalyst and a model for future like events to emulate.
“Dorland Marketing and Event Management will manage the Expo.
“Dorland has a solid business acumen in agri business development and management and, therefore, is ideally competent to manage an event of such magnitude.”
Mr Runawery extended an invitation to other interested stakeholders and sponsors to join the expo bandwagon this year.
To secure your stall or sponsor the event, obtain a copy of the agri trade expo information kit via email

Six warm-weather crops for your vegetable garden

In Papua New Guinea, the weather is warm all year-round, and you can start your vegetable garden at your backyard.
But what garden plants should you grow?
Here is a list of six must-have warm weather plants for your vegetable garden.

Hot Peppers

Peppers are great plants to grow in your garden.
They are a main ingredient in salsa and hot sauces.
Even the peppers that are mildly hot can be used in the kitchen.
Peppers can be dried through traditional methods such as tying up, much like herbs, or slow roasting them on low heat in the oven for a few hours.
The peppers can then be ground up into spices.
 Cayenne is a popular pepper to dry and use ground up.
Peppers are easy to grow even if you have a shorter growing season than some.
Hot peppers tend to take a little longer than the sweet peppers (such as banana and bell peppers) and are better to start seeds inside or start by transplants.
They are similar to tomatoes in growth and likes and dislikes.
Not many pests affect peppers, as the leaves and stems are quite nasty and are toxic to most creatures when ingested.


There is nothing like a ripe, red, juicy tomato, or even a few cherry tomatoes or some green and yellow tomatoes.
Red is just the traditional color everyone thinks of when they hear about tomatoes.
But the other colors are quite tasty and great in pastas.
Tomatoes are quite easy to grow.
In most cases, starting the seeds inside under grow lights or buying transplants is the way to grow the best tomatoes.
Tomatoes like warm climates and do not tolerate frost well even when well established.
Cherry tomatoes are a fun tomato to grow.
Cherry tomatoes are like miniature tomatoes.
They are small and usually very sweet.
They are fun to grow in containers and great to use in salads or as a snack for the kids.

Squash (and Family)

These are probably the easiest of the vegetables to grow, especially when the weather is very warm.
 They are warm weather crops and don’t tolerate frost well. But they love the warmth of the color black and often grow vigorously when planted in old tires.
Zucchini are in the squash family and are very similar in culture to squash.
 There are many varieties of squash including the winter squash which matures later.
Pumpkins are closely related and also do well in tires and containers.
Take an old tire and fill in with soil.
A good soil mixture would contain amounts of perlite or vermiculite to help moisture retention.
Since these plants are planted during the hot summer season, they will need lots of moisture retention properties.
 Mound up the soil in the center of the tire and plop in three to four squash seeds.


Fresh cucumbers from the garden are a wonderful addition to your salad or even just as they are.
They are similar to squash in that they love warm weather.
You can grow the cucumbers, like the squash, in tires and in mounds of soil.
There are two main types of cucumbers: the vining ones and the bush types.
The vining cucumbers will vigorously produce in the best conditions.
They might produce all summer long.
They might also need some sort of trellis to grow on or a long piece of yard since they vine out everywhere. Better yet, grow your cucumbers along with your corn and they will use your corn stalks as a pole to climb on.
That way you don't waste space.
The bush type cucumbers grow in bush fashion, only growing so high and so wide when they produce. These cucumbers are great for container gardening or if you don’t have a lot of space.


Beans are wonderful to grow and there is so much taste in fresh green beans.
There are many varieties of beans that you can grow.
Pole beans can grow quite tall and get out of hand if not ready for their vigorous vining growth.
They will need some sort of support. A pole bean tower is recommended.
This tower is a six foot (or higher) tower that allows the beans to climb up the tower in a smaller area. It makes it easier to harvest the beans.
Bush beans are beans that don't quite grow as prolific as their pole bean counterparts, but they can produce just as much if the conditions are right. Bush beans are great for containers and smaller areas.
While green beans are the most popular, beans do come in many shapes and sizes, even colors.
 Harvest regularly to get the most out of beans.
They will be ready to harvest in as little as 60 days from planting.
 If you want smaller yet extended harvests of the beans, then succession planting is recommended. Succession planting is planting a row, then waiting about two to three weeks, and planting another row. That way, the rows will mature and produce at different times, giving an extended harvest.


Corn is planted by seed usually in rows.
Corn does better if a lot is planted.
At least a five-foot plot is recommended to get the best results and best pollination rates.
 Corn self-pollinates but it needs other corn near it to do so, so it is vital to have several rows of corn.
Corn growth is dictated by large amounts of space, but there is corn that is better for smaller spaces.
This corn doesn’t grow quite as tall or long as the other varieties.
Push the corn seed at least a half inch into the ground.
This helps avoid common pests such as birds and other seed eating creatures.
Cover the seeds and make sure the corn is kept watered.
Don't let it dry out.
Plant the corn at least six inches apart in the row with the rows about 10 inches apart.
More space is recommended for disease and pest control.
In a more controllable environment such as a container, however, the rows and plants can be sown closer together.
There are many varieties of corn with a common one being the sweet corn variety.

Making money from your flowers

Caption: Mrs Bertha Kamit is actively involved in promoting the  floriculture industry.


Floriculture, or flower farming, is an industry that has been dormant for years and needs to be revived.
This is according to Bertha Kamit, an extension officer with the division of primary industry in East New Britain, who says one can earn a lot from the floriculture industry if more effort is put into it.
Mrs Kamit graduated from Papua New Guinea’s oldest tertiary institution, Popondetta Agriculture Training Institute - now a campus of the University of Vudal - in 1980 and joined the division of primary industry at Kokopo as a nutrition officer.
She resigned in 1984 due to family commitments and returned to work in 1991 as an extension officer with Pomio district.
As an extension officer, she has been involved in many activities such as the eradication of cocoa pod borer, Newcastle disease, Women in Agriculture and many others.
Her commitment and hard work brought her to attend the launching of floriculture in Port Moresby in 2006.
“My interest began to build up so I started developing my backyard with flower planting and decorations in offices,” Mrs Kamit said.
Her backyard attracted and motivated a lot of people, especially women.
With the knowledge she gained, she ran workshops and training for women in the province.
Apart from beautifying homes and offices, Mrs Kamit says flowers are also given as gifts and used at important events such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, graduation ceremonies and shows.
Floriculture also provides a good income.
For instance, she charges K200 for backyard planting, while gifts and decorations for different occasions have their own fees.
She also has pot plants that can be hired for decorations of venues.
Mrs Kamit is grateful for the agricultural training she received that has enabled her to be successful in her hobby.
“I thank the college and the people who had trained me to become a successful woman,” she said.
Floriculture, according to Wikepedia, is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry, comprising the floral industry.
“The development plant breeding of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists,” it says.
“Floriculture crops include bedding plants, flowering plants, foliage plants or houseplants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers.
“As distinguished from nursery crops, floriculture crops are generally herbaceous. “Bedding and garden plants consist of young flowering plants (annuals and perennials) and vegetable plants.
“They are grown in cell packs (in flats or trays), in pots, or in hanging baskets, usually inside a controlled environment, and sold largely for gardens and landscaping. “Geraniums, impatiens, and petunias are the best-selling bedding plants. “Chrysanthemums are the major perennial garden plant in the United States.
“Flowering plants are largely sold in pots for indoor use.
“The major flowering plants are poinsettias, orchids, florist chrysanthemums, and finished florist azaleas.
“Foliage plants are also sold in pots and hanging baskets for indoor and patio use, including larger specimens for office, hotel, and restaurant interiors.
“Cut flowers are usually sold in bunches or as bouquets with cut foliage.
“The production of cut flowers is specifically known as the cut flower industry.
“Farming flowers and foliage employs special aspects of floriculture, such as spacing, training and pruning plants for optimal flower harvest; and post-harvest treatment such as chemical treatments, storage, preservation and packaging.
“In Australia and the United States some species are harvested from the wild for the cut flower market.”

Port Moresby General Hospital over its limits: Heatlh Minister


THE Port Moresby General Hospital (POMGH) cannot cater for the city’s expanding population, Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Sasa Zibe said last Friday, The National reports.

Therefore, the Health Department and the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) were working in collaboration to improve and expand four clinics in the suburbs, he said.

Speaking during the swearing-in of the hospital’s new board, Mr Zibe said the hospital did not have the required resources to function effectively and fulfil its expected role and responsibility.

He said the national hospital was currently providing medical services way beyond its scope; it was serving a population far larger than its capabilities.

At the moment it is serving the NCD, Central and Gulf provinces.

Mr Zibe said POMGH was a national referral hospital and a teaching hospital and should set best clinical and medical practices where young people learn the right attitudes of being a doctor, a nurse or an allied health worker.

He said the Health Department reforms, which were being carried out in collaboration with the NCDC, were of importance to POMGH.

To ensure sound public health management, a team led by Dr Timothy Pyakalyia had been assigned to work with NCDC to provide professional advisory support.

Under this strategy, it is envisioned that the four urban clinics at Hanuabada, Gerehu, Kaugere and Nine-Mile would be upgraded to be able to perform normal deliveries and to focus on overall maternal and child health services as well as minor illnesses.

“If all goes well, this arrangement would ensure fewer burdens on POMGH, allowing it to focus on its core functions,” Mr Zibe said.

The new board members sworn in included deputy chairman and community representative Rahe Maraki, Rev Somi Setu (church rep), Robin Yanapa (NCDC) and Dr Sylvester Kotapu (Central provincial health).

Current chairman Sir Brian Bell and business community representative Cathy Johnston and women’s representative Sose Tamarua were reappointed to the board.

The ceremony was witnessed by Health secretary Dr Clement Malau, his deputy Dr Paison Dakulala, POMGH chief executive officer Dr Alphonse Tay and senior Health Department and hospital staff.

Meanwhile, Sir Brian called on Mr Zibe to fast-track the disbursement of more than K20 million approved by the Government for infrastructure development and maintenance of major facilities at the hospital.

Sir Brian said work on major hospital projects had been stalled due to lack of funding.

He said that since the hospital was functioning as a primary, secondary and tertiary health care facility and a national referral teaching hospital, the board’s plea for increase in manpower and other resources must be given high priority.