Friday, April 1, 2011

Ramu NiCo helps farmers

RAMU NiCo project in Madang is providing many indirect benefits, apart from direct opportunities and benefits to the impacted landowners in many ways.
Supplying of fresh vegetables by local farmers is an obvious one.
Kanai Imai from Gogou village outside Basamuk refinery in the Raicoast district is one of those regular suppliers of fresh vegetables under the purchase order (PO) arrangement with NCS Raibus.
NCS is a catering company in PNG joint venturing with Raibus Ltd, the Ramu NiCo project landowner umbrella company serving meals to Ramu NiCo’s Basamuk refinery and Kurumbukari mine sites.
Imai and his family members supply fresh vegetables, including ripe bananas, raw banana, ripe pawpaw, snake bean, green bean, ripe pineapple, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other fresh produces twice a day to Basamuk refinery.
He said such opportunities were not available in the past but now local farmers, including himself, could earn comfortable living after Ramu NiCo established it refinery at Basamuk.
Due to lack of road, he hires local dinghy to his village, Lamtub to pick up vegetables and dropped them at the Mendre beach for NCS vehicles to pick up.
Imai said previously MCC-Ramu NiCo gave them a better rate when purchasing their vegetables but NCS-Raibus had lowered the rates.
He hoped this could be improved to encourage more farmers to engage in farming as the mine could not employ all landowners.
It takes roughly eight hours to travel from his Lamtub village to Basamuk, costing K200 to hire a truck for every trip.
But Imai admitted that his earning caters for other expenses and went home with sufficient earning, compared to his past agricultural engagement in copra and cocoa.
Imai also noticed that with the growing work force and three meals served a day, he would like to increase his produce so that the supply was constant or else vegetable growers from other provinces would compete with him.

source: The National

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