EU-funded STREIT Programme commenced infrastructure works to establish a cocoa and vanilla export depot and rehabilitate two more farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
Wewak, Papua New Guinea – The UN Joint EU Funded STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea starts the works on 3 key infrastructures in East and West Sepik provinces in a bid to provide further support to over 48,000 farmers.
In Vanimo, the Capital of West Sepik Province, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) started a 7-month project to establish a cocoa and vanilla export depot. FAO invests PGK 1.67 million in this facility construction thanks to the European Union’s financial support.
“This export-oriented depot facility will support more than 20,000 vanilla and cocoa farming households in West Sepik Province to benefit from enhanced value chain development and market engagement. It will ensure better and premium prices for the products as well as leading to better income and improved livelihood for producers in the Province,” explained Ali Said Yesuf, the Programme Coordinator.
“The farmers in the province were struggling over the last couple of years to find a market for cocoa and vanilla products,” said the West Sepik Administrator, Conrad Tilau, asserting “this storage warehouse for cocoa and vanilla is the first of its kind in Vanimo and ensures all farmers and commodity exporters to come to the capital of the Province, instead of other locations.”
International Labour Organization (ILO), also as part of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, started the rehabilitation and specific maintenance of two new rural access roads of Taunages-Asanokar and Angoram-Marienberg in East Sepik Province.
ILO, based on its workplan, rehabilitates and improves 15 major rural access roads in both East and West Sepik provinces, to improve farmers’ and villagers’ access to markets and agri-business opportunities, and enhance access to social services, such as education and health, enabling the farmers to better their livelihoods and well-being.
Taunages-Asanokar road (5.8 km) connects rural communities in Maprik and Ambunti-Dreikikir districts, once rehabilitated, will provide improved serviceability to 4,000 villagers and serve 3,000 cocoa and vanilla farmers for better market accessibility. In addition, during the 12-month implementation period, the project provides 25,000 work-day of decent employment to local people of the community. The Programme is investing PGK 2.4 million in this project. Out of this budget, PGK 1.4 million will be injected into the local economy during the infrastructure works.
The Programme is also investing PGK 2.24 million to further improve and conduct specific maintenance in Angoram-Marienberg rural road (30 km) in Angoram District, benefitting more than 24,000 Cocoa, Vanilla and Fisheries farmers living in the vicinity of the road. This road rehabilitation project is expected to create 15,000 decent paid employment days and inject PGK 1.4 million of cash into the local economy.
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains. The Porgramme also works on strengthening and improving the efficiency of agri-food value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-resilient transport and energy infrastructure development.
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