A landowner group in the Umi-Atzera LLG, of Markham district, will enter a joint venture with Mainland Holdings Ltd (MHL) to use their land for a cocoa development project.
In 2016, farmers in Markham alone earned K5 million from cocoa production.
Information from the PNG Cocoa Board during the period indicated that the district topped the province in cocoa production. More than 1000 hectares of land within the vicinity of the once-renowned Markham Peanut Butter facility will now be turned into a large-scale cocoa development project area.
Garam locals from Wafibampung village near the Leron plains have accepted an invitation from MHL to participate in this project.
MHL is the lease-holder of the land on which one of its subsidiary companies, Niugini Table Birds, operates the Garam Breeder Farm.
The company has used its discretion to formally invite landowners to participate in this business venture to improve and maximise landowner participation.
Six villages consisting of five clans, with a population of more than 7000 men, women and children, will be involved in this project.
Markham district development authority chief executive Henry Mileng said it was a significant opportunity provided by the company to involve local landowners.
He said Markham DDA would provide technical support to assist landowners prepare for the project.
Mileng said landowner participation would improve the rural economy and the lives of the people living in the surrounding communities. Garam landowners’ chairman Kevin Rifi said the landowners would work together for the benefit of the project.
“We have been waiting for such a large-scale impact project over the years,” he said.
“Markham is blessed with this massive landmass and to have a project of this magnitude is a blessing to us.”
Source: The National PNG