Caption: Mount Giluwe LLG councilor Sumba Wako showing his potato plot at his Pagapena village, Tambul.-Picture by BUSTIN ANZU
By BUSTIN ANZU
VEGETABLE farmers in Tambul,
If everyone there works the land, and if every effort is made by these people at the foot of the majestic Mt Giluwe –
Tambul is a Garden of Eden for vegetable production.
It is the major producer of potato and temperate vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, capsicum, onion, radish and carrots in the country and the major supplier of the renowned Mt Hagen market.
The dream of supplying PNG with vegetables can be achieved on the back of a recently-launched vegetable development project: ‘Developing a Sustainable Potato and Vegetable Production in the
The project was launched at Alkena in Tambul last Nov 7 and will be spearheaded by the MKL Vegetable Farming Group.
The group is a newly-established community initiative involving farmers led by Maktol Oke, a specialist potato seed grower in the
Mr Oke, who is also chairman of the MKL group, said the initiative was an “impact project” for the 68, 000 people of Tambul-Nebilyer aimed at enabling them to increase their potato and vegetable production for cash and food to improve their livelihoods.
He said the project received overwhelming support from Tambul-Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa, Mt Giluwe local level government, district administration, Lutheran church, local leaders and farmers.
Mr Poponawa supported the project with K6, 000 while Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga chipped in with K20, 000.
National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) and Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) assisted with technical advice.
“The centre will also be used for farmer training, demonstration and information sharing by service providers such as NARI, FPDA and the provincial division of primary industry.”
Mr Oke said potato was an important food crop for high-altitude areas like Tambul, which was making a comeback from the notorious Potato Late Blight Disease of 2003, and the project was anticipated to produce clean and certified seeds for farmers.