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Old 14-08-2003, 10:05 PM
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Enga people’s next best thing to gold – pyrethrum !

by James Kila in Goroka.

THE PEOPLE of Enga province can sustain their life for the future if they plant more pyrethrum after the giant Porgera Gold Mine closes its operation in the next couple of years.

Pyrethrum is the only form of cash crop viable in this cool high altitude province. A pyrethrum is a kind of chrysanthemum with finely divided-leaves and its flowers when dried can be used to manufacture insect repellants. It grows well in high altitude locations especially in cool climate similar to that of Enga. Additionally, people in Enga have a fertile land on which on which they can grow more pyrethrum.

The Governor of Enga province, Peter Ipatas recently announced an initiative to open a factory at Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands province.

Pyrethrum Coordinator and factory manager at Kagamuga, Joe Tomorop said the Enga provincial government under the governorship of Mr Ipatas has taken the right initiative to re-open the factory at Kagamuga for the people to plant more pyrethrum to earn more money by selling the flowers at the factory.

“People will now have money in their pockets to help their family households and support the community,” Mr Tomorop said.

At present more than half of the Enga province population are planting pyrethrum.

Mr Tomorop said they are planning to supply seedlings to the people back in the village so they will grow and sell flowers to the factory. Farmers have also been urged to pick only the mature flowers of the pyrethrum plant because it would help them get more chemical out of the flower when they process them.

The factory manager also said that market is not the problem to them as they already have a consultant in England arranging markets for them

“In the next six months we are also going to supply seedlings to each schools in the province so the students will be selling flowers to us and we will pay their schools fees at the beginning of the year,” Mr Tomorop said.

He said they will be utilizing the old Taluma Department of Primary Industry Station at Sirunki to grow the seedlings to supply all the schools in the in the province with the other main research centers are in Kandep, Kepalam and Wabag.

A councilor at Yokonda village in the Sirunki district, Makande Peter said the people have only two main cash crop in their area, namely pyrethrum and potatoes. Other than that they have no other means of earning cash income. However, most of the people are suffering at the moment because of the Late Potatoes Blight.

He said transport is the only problem the people face because they live in the remote areas. It takes one whole day to walk with the pyrethrum bags to the main highway to look for PMV (Public Motor Vehicle)to travel to the main road to sell their produce.

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