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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Goroka farmers reaps what he sows
Goroka farmer Tom Solepa, who yesterday completed
selling 156 bags of kaukau (sweet
potatoes) at Gordon Market in Port Moresby for K150 each, has urged the people
of Papua New Guinea to go back to the land.
Solepa, a graduate economist who gave up a
well-paying government job some years ago to return to the land, will use the
more than K7, 000 he had earned in just two days to pay school fees for his two
children who are attending Goroka International Primary School.
He told The
National yesterday after selling his kaukau
that he was very proud, as an executive of Highlands Farmers and Settlers Association
(HFSA), to have brought his kaukau
all the way from Goroka via Lae to Port Moresby.
“It takes courage, patience, to bring our kaukau to market,” Solepa said.
“As a person who has been trying to promote farmer
issues, this gives me a lot of satisfaction.
“I want to tell our people that money is on the
“The returns are very good.”
Solepa, 38, from Meteyufa village outside Goroka in
the Asaro Valley, said kaukau was a “winner”.
“I see the kaukau
trade as a big business,” he said.
“You bring in kaukau from rural areas to urban
“In Goroka, we do sell the kaukau we grow, however,
we feel that we can make better money if we sell in Lae or Port Moresby.
Kaukau being sold at Lae Main Market
“We stopped growing coffee a long time ago.
“It takes us just three months to for kaukau, from growing to harvesting.
“In a year, we make four harvests.
“If we sell 60 bags, we can make up to K11, 000.”
The process, however, can be expensive, as Solepa
has had to pay people to tend his gardens, harvest, bag the kaukau and carry them to roadside, road
transport to Lae, sea transport to Port Moresby, and several others.
He has also had to pay for his airfares to and from
But true to form, Solepa has reaped what he sowed,
and what he had earned from this latest kaukau
sale will go towards the education of his two children at international
school in Goroka.
“My kids are at international school so this money
is for their school fees,” he said.
“I pay K5, 000 per child per term, so this money
will help me a lot.”