Prime Minister James Marape has urged the people of East Sepik to go more into agriculture to boost the local and national economies.
He made the call at Mengar in Wewak on Thursday (April 14 2022) when launching the K500 million Wewak International Port, funded by Korea in partnership with the Papua New Guinea Government.
PM Marape said all the efforts of the people of East Sepik in agriculture would be wasted if there was no port to take their produce to international markets.
He said his vision was to establish formal trade links with Indonesia, which he visited last month, and the new port would be a catalyst for that.
Papua New Guinea, through East Sepik, is one of the largest vanilla producers in the world with a lot of that crossing the land border to Indonesia.
“All the work we are doing in East Sepik in vanilla, cocoa and other agriculture produce will be wasted if this port is not built,” PM Marape said.
“We already have a wharf in Wewak, however, we need something bigger and better to sustain the economy of tomorrow – consistent with our view that everyone must have money in their pockets.
“I urge all the people of East Sepik to go into agriculture.”
PM Marape said East Sepik was already benefitting from the K340-million European Union-funded Support to Rural Entrepreneurship Investment and Trade (STREIT) programme with a strong focus on agriculture and fisheries.
Apart from that, the Government is pouring in millions of kina through agriculture price support programme, freight subsidy and other programmes.
PM Marape thanked Mengar landowners for allowing use of their land to build the new port and pledged Government assistance to resettle affected villagers, including improved road access and electricity.
He also pledged Government support for the local school at Mengar.
“The economy, and the people, must benefit from this port which will be built over the next two years,” he said.