From inception OTDF has worked alongside the CMCA communities to ensure they are food secure, but also to prepare them for a transition from subsistence to commercial farming. Driven by the OTDF vision and PNG Medium Term Development Plan #2 goal to enable rural communities to prosper through economic development, OTDF introduced the Livelihood Development Package program in 2015. Premised on the semi-commercial production of rice, eaglewood and rubber, this program was the pre-cursor to the WestAgro Master Plan.
Eight years in the making, the OTDF Board commissioned Innovative Agro Industries to develop an agribusiness Master Plan for the Province in November 2017 which was consequently endorsed by the Fly River Provincial Government, CMCA Syndicate & Advisory Committee and the OTDF Board before launching on the 23rd of November at the Cassowary Hotel in Kiunga. This Master Plan incorporates all key components required to revolutionise and drive agricultural productivity across Western Province: includes the provision of all services through Agro Industrial Centre’s as geographically spread community support and commercial hubs.
Mr Musje Werror, the OTDF Board Chairman noted the significance of the occasion since it heralds the beginning of a new and exciting era that will change the course of Western Province.
It has taken many years and a long journey to reach this milestone, but it has been necessary and the timing is right to embark on this exciting initiative because of the changing attitudes of the Communities to improve and sustain their livelihoods and address poverty. The recognition of Agri business as one of three development pillars in the Province’s New Way Forward truly shows the visionary leaders the people elected. When OTML is gone WestAgro will leave behind a positive legacy.
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) Board Chairman Sir Moi Avei said this agriculture master plan was a shared vision.
It didn’t come from Waigani, it was a homegrown plan, 33 per cent of OTML now belongs to the people of Western; this cannot remain on paper. We must be able to translate that into profit so that the small people throughout Western Province have the means to get up and participate in the WestAgro plan.