Post Courier Spices Industry Growth Potential

BY NELSON JOE

PNG Organic Spice Developers and Traders Director Sakarias Ikio said the spice industry has the potential to provide job opportunities for over 800 people.

He said the workforce could include both professionals and casual workers.

Mr. Ikio attributed this labor mix to the diversity of spice producers and their multiple operations that require strategies that he said were specific to various spice products.

“It will depend on the size of the operation based on the respective quantity requirements of each operator.

If the government and international NGOs operating in Papua New Guinea pay a lot of attention to the spice industry, the spice industry can generate more,” Mr. Ikio said.

“It also means that many trading houses will evolve to participate in the industry.”

He started promoting this industry since 2001 from scratch in the Avi community and built the organizational capacity to a value of around 400,000K, with funds from donors, PNG government and capital contributions- investment.

“When a fire destroyed our operations office in the former Kapal Haus building in 2007, we ceased operations,” Mr. Ikio said. “After a few years, I went down to the Eastern Highlands province to re-establish the program, starting from scratch.”

He said spice work was intensive like any other product and there were a lot of challenges.

“Now there are more than seven participants in the spice industry in the Highlands region,” Mr. Ikio said.

This excludes the 320 farmers he had encouraged to enter the industry through his extension services, including Mathew Tenn in Banz, Jiwaka province, who he said was now producing the Niugini Organic Spice brands in selected supermarkets.

He said the industry was growing, but expressed concern that there was no government support.

Mr Ikio said the industry had been underfunded for the past 30 years and called on the Minister of Agriculture to support his plan to meet government expectations to grow the economy through the agriculture.

Freeda S. Scott