Cement Roads improve the Eriku look

I remember when I started working in Lae in the mid 2000s, Eriku had huge potholes, street drunks, people charging you for sitting down, people crossing the road between cars, litter everywhere, etc. The biggest improvement in Eriku is the road – main roads and roads behind the shops.

Standing at the Eriku overhead bridge looking eastwards

I also see regular police foot patrols, community groups engaged to clean the streets, orderly conduct of buses, etc. Effective leadership is in place and the people of Lae Open know who their leader is. I mean the guy didn’t even campaign during the 2022 national general elections na em win yah! Wok ba tok!

Standing at the Eriku Overhead Bridge looking westwards

You can find more on the Lae City Authority website: https://lca.gov.pg/

A trip up to the Wawin School of Excellence

Wawin National High or known formally as Wawin School of Excellence is one of six Schools of Excellence throughout the country where the top students from secondary schools go to. The other schools are Kerevat, Sogeri, Aiyura, Passam and finally Port Moresby. The best students in the secondary school system througout PNG get selected to join these six Schools of Excellence. The six schools are currently in the phase of introducing the STEM curriculum into their system. It is hoped that eventually, the schools of Excellence will remove the Outcome Based curriculum from their system

The flowers in the court yard are too good
The school looks immaculate this morning

Wawin School of Excellence, located just outside Lae city, is home to students from all over PNG who have completed grade 10 and now are doing grade 11 and 12. The students are boarding so they live at the school grounds and many do not see their families for the whole year. They stay there for two years to complete their school and after that, if successful, they enter a tertiary institution. I did live in a boarding school in high school and secondary school so I understand some of situations students go through at this level of school. Its hard to be away from families but a routine lifestyle at the school will keep you busy and interested.

I remember visiting the school sometime in 2006 but we only stopped at the gate. However, this time, I was able to visit the school and see its environment. The team from the University of Goroka were going to do an awareness session to the grade 12 students on the STAP-P. The STAP-P test is an entry test carried out by both University of Goroka and University of Technology in Lae. They wanted a video of their awareness done for their reporting purposes so I tagged along.

A small park in the school area
A metal plaque showcasing the school has been built by the people of China as a symbol of friendship to the people of PNG

One of the first things I noticed was the dressing of the students. I have visited many schools at the secondary level and have been to visit some of the universities in our country but I can say that the students at this school really stood out. Inside the classroom and along its corridors, the students dressed well, neat and appropriate. They were not in uniform but you could tell by their standard of dressing that they took care of the way they looked and presented themselves. It was, I believe, a reflection of the efficient management of the school too.

Such a long building with numerous classrooms upstairs and downstairs
School hallway

The second thing that I noticed was the vast area of the school. There were are few buildings but there was also a large area of spaces between different buildings of the school. There was grass, even though it had turned brown due to the lack of rainfall this dry season, stretching far from one set of buildings to another. I thought to myself that if they wanted to convert this school into a technical school or even a University, they could easily do that here as the space was huge.

Standing at the school and looking into the mountains of Erap/Nabak at the back of the school grounds
There school canteen next to the school gate

We just spent the day there. I went around taking photos and short video clips on the phone. I took some of the photos in the classrooms and then some of it in the school mess where the awareness was held. It was really good to see the students listen to the two universities (UOG and UNITECH) talk about the STAT-P test to the students. After the talk, we bought some fruits at the school gate and then drove back to Lae.

The video I did as requested by the UOG team who took me up Wawin School of Excellence

Adding value through creative media – the LAKE Media way

“Put up the set lighting! Check aperture, check exposure setting. All good? Okay let me take that photo.”

These are the words of Jeremy Mark as he goes about his business during a photo shoot production at a 3-bedroom stylised apartment property at Lae’s central business district. Lopoki Inc. tagged along to see how Jeremy went about the thought process, techniques and workflow for a production shoot and hoped to learn some tricks of the trade off him. Jeremy runs LAKE Media, a small business operating out of his own home.

Jeremy begins the photo shoot in front of the four unit apartments
We move to the corners and back of the apartments
Jeremy shows me the photos he has taken
Jeremy takes some landscape and portrait photos as well of the backyard area.

Why LAKE media?

“Well LAKE is an acronyms taken from my childrens’ names,” Jeremy explained when I queried the origin of the business name. LAKE Media specializes in video production and other creative content. Since he started the business in 2019, he has been slowly building a portfolio of video and photography engagements with PNG organizations and even international companies. Today, LAKE Media was engaged by a real estate firm to photograph their refurbished apartments so that they could use the photos for their promotion and advertising purposes.

As I helped him carry the camera equipment and set up lighting, I could see a bit of the work that went into creating the appropriate images needed. It takes patience, dedication and most importantly a highly technical knowledge of how the camera works, lighting and other important principles too such as rule of thirds, depth of field, contrast, emphasis, proportion, etc. We went into the property around 12pm led by the real estate team who explained the different sections of the house. Then Jeremy explained to the real estate team the general outline of photos he would take around the property. He pointed out that in the afternoon when the sun gave a nice golden look, usually around 5pm, he would take the drone photos. Jeremy then started taking photos.

Interior photos

He started taking photographs outside. We started on the front, moved to the edges of the unit complex, then to the back of the house. He took mostly landscape photos of the area and building and also some portrait shots too. After that we moved into one of the units where the real estate team had already set up the house with white and brown goods. We set up the lighting set and then he meticulously took photos of the living room, kitchen, laundry, master bedroom and other rooms. The house was a two-storey building so we moved the photography equipment around a bit.

The tools of the trade

Jeremy used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera with a 16-35mm lens on a tripod, with a lighting kit of four 24W LED lights providing plenty of lighting. He shot everything on a tripod, using slow shutter speeds of 1 to 5 seconds at high apertures (f6 to f8) for sharpness. We moved furniture and carpets to maximize the room and its features in the photographs. It took us around 2 hours to shoot photos of the exterior and interior of the house. After that, we left the property and would come back later in the afternoon to shoot the aerials with a DJI Mavic 2 drone.

While technical knowledge is important, good equipment is the lifeblood of a multimedia production business. I could see that Jeremy had invested in cameras, lenses, a drone, a softbox lighting kit, batteries, media storage devices, cleaning equipment and portable storage bags for all these items. He got a BSP loan of K47,000 to acquire these assets in 2020. While this seems a large amount of money for someone to do this as a microbusiness, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Jeremy had been able to pay back the loan through mostly video production jobs. When I asked him about how he has been getting jobs, he said, “Word of mouth!”

Jeremy’s valuable tools – the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera and two 16-35mm lenses
He begins the photo shoot inside one of the apartments with the camera placed on a tripod to provide stability.
The 24W LED lights provides plenty of lighting.
Later in the afternoon, we stop outside the property and Jeremy uses the DJI Mavic 2 drone to do a photo shoot showcasing the aerial views of the property.

Gaining clients

What he meant by ‘word of mouth’ is what we know as word of mouth marketing or referrals. He explained that early on in his business career, he used social media to advertise LAKE Media services. He used social media to advertise his services around 90% of the time and 10% of the jobs received were through his contacts. When he acquired the first three or four engagements, he worked really hard on them making sure the quality stood out. His quality of his work began to draw in clients outside of his regular circles. His clients appreciated the LAKE Media products and services and this began to build an extensive portfolio that now has provided for over 30 clients. While most of these clients are corporate entities, he has ventured into the tourism, events, health and development work too.

When queried about some of his ongoing jobs, he pointed out that LAKE Media currently provides video production support too. This includes an ongoing video time-lapse of the Nadzab Airport Redevelopment Project which will end in April 2023 when the new terminal is opened. Since he runs a one person operation, he explained that LAKE Media also engages other photographers and videographers too. For example, in Lae, when there is a high demand for video or photo production for events especially corporate functions and weddings, he gives these jobs to other media partners too.

Values in the business

Lopoki Inc. asked Jeremy what he attributed his success to. He said a lot of things including support from his family and having discipline but the one thing that anchors his business and personal life is a phrase he once heard spoken by one of his role models, Fr Jan Czuba, “Be a person of value, rather than a person of success.” He elaborated: “My day is about adding value in everything I do whether at work or home. I don’t concern myself with successes because it gets to your head and makes you too comfortable. Instead I focus on value. What is it that I can do to make a product or service better, or add to a conversation to find solutions?”

Challenges

What are his challenges? When COVID-19 came, the jobs diminished as travel was restricted, LAKE media couldn’t get jobs as other businesses stopped giving out jobs so as to save money. Even gaining jobs required going though the process of testing and isolation which was not business effective. Today, business is picking up slowly but other pressing matters still occupy the forefront of running a small business. There is also the issue where jobs can be intermittent so one has to be develop other streams of income too. One positive is that Jeremy has a permanent and formal job working in Lae city for the last 10 years so he does LAKE Media on the weekends and during his breaks.

When he cannot attend jobs during week days, he has a pool of talented creatives he sends to do the jobs. “That’s why I focus a lot of my time on training the young guys that work with me. Some run their own businesses so we’re always collaborating to find the right chemistry and people with great work ethic to deliver jobs that can be demanding. “Sometimes, I knock back job requests because no one is around to do them as the guys are always doing something every other week. We find a good work life balance most days so it’s a matter of planning for the best and worst so to speak.” he said.

A message to others

Does he have any words of advice to others who are contemplating their business ideas or starting out in their small business endeavors? “Well, my message to the young guns starting out in a photography or video making business, or any other field, is put your head down and get the work done. Stop stressing over likes and views and chasing clout. Strategize and distribute your content on your socials if you must on a regularly basis however market your skills face to face too. This is because networking with businesses and individuals in person is still the gold standard. Stop appealing for followers online rather focus on getting skilled up, show up, get the work done and then go home. Do that for one year straight and you’ll wake up one day and find your inbox is full of job requests.”

Lopoki Inc. supports the work of small business such as LAKE Media not only because it tells the story of being disciplined in growing your business through a good values system but also about being able to produce quality content that add value to organisations operating in PNG.

Investing in a quality water tank is a good choice

While PNG, as a whole, is often seen as a place abundant in clean water, access to it can be difficult at times. Difficulty in accessing good water sources place many people at risk of water, sanitation and hygiene related issues. The PNG Government’s WASH Policy 2015 – 2030 indicates that 89 per cent of people in urban areas and 33 percent in rural areas have access to safe water while 57 percent of urban dwellers and only 13 percent of the rural population have access to basic sanitation.

So we too, in rural areas have access issues. Take for example, my parents in Manus. My parents used to live in a place in the village where they had to walk a distance to collect fresh water. Liap village is on the north coast of Manus island. It is a coastal village with most houses lining up alongside the beach. Sometimes, getting access to fresh water can be a bit difficult on the coastline especially during dry season. There are rivers and creeks but one has to go up some way to the head of the water source to get clean and fresh water.

Taking ownership and investing in a process of acquiring and maintaining good water access often falls onto individuals or families rather than the government, especially in rural areas of PNG. For example, to assist my parents with their fresh water needs, a water storage item close to the house would suit them. In my first year of formal employment, I had set aside enough money to buy a tank. I can’t really recall the amount but it was my first significant investment back to my parents. It was, and is still, a 1000 litre Tuffa tank that I bought from Lae’s manufacturing company, KK Kingston.

I worked in Lae and bought the tank in Lae. After buying the tank, I needed to figure out how to transport it from Lae, Morobe Province, to Lorengau in Manus, a journey of around 500 kilometers over the Bismarck Sea. I finally placed the tank on a Lutheran Shipping vessel and shipped it to Lorengau, Manus. Once it arrived there, it was then loaded onto an outboard motor for an hour on the northern coast line to Andru Point, Liap village. Once it arrived there, my parents built a small cement base and then put the tank on top, connected a gutter on the roof and downpipes to the tank.

Water tanks are a part of the solution to acquiring and maintaining good water access. The tank made my parents’ lives easier. Today, over 15 years later, this tank is still with me. My parents moved to our new area in the village so we transported the tank to our new place. We ended up rebuilding our house and starting out again. As I fix the family house and reset the tank stand next to our house in the village, I think about why we make personal investments. I have made investments of time, money, energy and emotions into people, equipment, machinery and places over the years.

Some investments, like this tank, I actually see it as a quality investment because over time it has provided water to not only my parents but those who are our neighbors as well. Its durability too makes this a worthy investment for me. It was difficult and costly to buy the tank in Lae and bring it all the way to my village in Manus, but it has been worth it as the benefits have outweighed the costs over time.

Me and my tank!
The Tuffa tank under the house. I’m still deciding which corner of the house I should stand this tank.

So invest in a water tank for your family today and help reduce water, sanitation and hygiene issues in our communities.

Stumbling onto a delicious fortified food in Lorengau

Recently, I came to know of a biscuit known as the Start Smart Breakfast Biscuit. I was in Lorengau town and went to the shop located at the old Manus Sports Club which is at the back of the Habourside Hotel. As I was looking through the shelves for biscuits, I saw this bright yellow but small packet of biscuit. It cost K1.20 for one packet. It had, on its label, ‘fortified with essential vitamins’ which I saw was Vitamin A, B6 and B12.

The small packet of biscuit fits snugly into the palm of my hand

Now this biscuit is an example of a fortified food. A fortified food is a food that is enriched by adding necessary vitamins into the food so that certain people in the general population can have access to this very important Vitamins. For example, Goiter, which is the irregular growth of the thyroid gland, comes from a lack of iodine in the body. To combat this problem, researchers and public health officials decided that when table salt is produced in a factory, iodine is added so that when the general population has access to this iodized salt, it reduces the number of people who may suffer from goiter. Another example is that of rice fortification where the process of adding micronutrients like iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 can increase the nutritional value of rice and prevent anemia, which is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues.

Now for the smart biscuits, I noticed that it was fortified with Vitamin A. In PNG vitamin A is given through immunisation clinics. However, once the immunisation schedule has completed, many children tend not to attend well baby clinics, which reduces the uptake of vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is associated with impaired vision, permanent loss of sight, and an increased risk of infection and death from infectious diseases, including measles that can persist throughout the lifecycle. VAD is severe problem among children 6 – 59 months. The prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in children aged 6 – 59 months is 25.6%, which is a considered severe public health problem. The only other data available for VAD is among non-pregnant women aged 15 – 49 years where the prevalence of VAD is 0.7% (National Department of Health 2005).

So this packet has 8 small square shaped biscuits and they are very sweet. I later found out that this shop at the old Manus Sports Club is the only shop in Lorengau and Manus that sells this product. This biscuit is produced in the country by Paradise Foods Limited. I am not sure if K1.20 is the same price everywhere around the country but it seems to be a good price for such a fortified food. It is essential that young growing children have access to these foods such as this Start Smart Biscuits.

The Papua New Guinea National Nutrition Policy 2016-2026 supports the fortification of foods in our country. However, the lack of strong research into food and nutrition is still lacking in this country and enforcement of such policies are still lacking. I also hope that those who are elected into PNG’s next parliament focus on leading appropriate national agencies in implementing key strategies found in the national policy. Its even sadder to know that none of our universities have a specific Diploma or Bachelor or Postgraduate program in Nutrition or Dietetics including the management of nutrition programs!

Try this fortified food today!

The life we live

Travelling on a outboard motor to Lorengau with other passengers

This is the life we live.

Travelling by boat from the village to Lorengau takes about 45 minutes but is a costly exercise. This one way trip costs the boat owner between K90 to K120 just to buy fuel. If he takes passengers, it reduces his burden. All of us, as passengers on the boat, have to fork out K20 individually for the one way trip into town. Then we put up another K20 for the trip back home in the afternoon. Other Manusians from villages much further away from Lorengau just cannot afford to have passenger travel. It’s just not economical. One would have to pay K50 or even K100 for a one way trip into Lorengau. Some places that are 2 hours from Lorengau cost a boat owner K500 for a one way trip into town.

Villages much further away from Lorengau have a high fuel burden.

So how do those who are far away, travel in to Lorengau? The villagers either wait until a businessman or government worker (a teacher or health worker) wants to travel into town and then they can contribute fuel (a 4 litre costs around K30) so they can travel or when a relative goes into town, everybody gives their shopping list, letters and request to that one person. Other times when there are movements of large groups of people such as school term breaks, customary obligations or deaths, these events give rise to travel. Apart from these events, it is quite difficult to travel due to the high cost of travel.

This fuel burden or travel cost then trickles down to affect everyday living. When fuel costs are high, people don’t move. The supply of food items decreases and the demand increases leading to increasing costs of these items. Other things like essential medicines are delayed and even a reduction in the cash flow in the village, etc. Life, in general becomes difficult. How do Manusians counter this burden? Like what they have been doing for years – they live off the land. The hunt, gather, plant, harvest, fish and work in groups to meet their basic needs. But that lifestyle too has its limitations as activities in living off the land have cost components as well. For example, a man may decide to make his garden bigger but he needs a better file for his knife. Another way, is the practice of remittances. Many Manusians living outside of the province, send money back to their relatives at home.

Manus is often seen a ‘beautiful place’ physically but the high fuel burden contributes to poor access to services such as health and education.

Will this fuel burden slow down in the future? It seems unlikely. External national forces continue to work in such a way as to increase the cost of fuel rather than decrease it. For instance, COVID-19 drove up prices and limited trade at the local level. The country lost money through the UBS loan scheme and even corruption and mismanagement in national government departments have contributed to hindering progress. But is it all doom and gloom in the future? I hope not because when problems arise, innovation arises as well. I hope the answer to the problem lies in electric rechargeable motors – ones that don’t use non-renewable fossil fuels but those that rely on solar energy. Electric cars are already a reality and soon, I’m hoping, it will be electric outboard motors.

In the meantime, for us Manusians, this is the life we live….

Beautiful mornings on the north coast

Sometimes when we wake up in the morning, we are already thinking ahead of the plans we have to carry out and the people we need to meet. But when it is very early in the morning, you just have to step back a bit and appreciate what is around you.

Yes we have problems but we are also thankful of where we live. When I walked down to the beach ( I live up in the mountains) to look for a boat to travel into Lorengau, I couldn’t help but notice the morning sun as it rose from the east of Manus

Standing at Madawo Esio, in Liap, I look eastwards as the sun rises on the east of Manus province.

I looked up and saw a fisherman trawling for small fish, most probably ‘mamau’ or ‘mas’ – those small silvery fish that zip to and fro along the sand on the sea floor. He paddled fast with his string in the water. As he cut the morning waters with his outrigger canoe, he pauses paddling and lets the wooden canoe slide along. He quickly tugged at the string behind him, then pulling the string right past him in a swinging motion, checking to seek if a fish had latched onto his hook. When he notices no fish has struck, he releases the string and quickly paddles again repeating the process. Before long, he will have ten or fifteen of these small fish then he will retire back to his house to have breakfast. As I walk along the beach, some more men are heading out to sea to join the first person in the sea bay.

Yes this is one part of the morning activities in Liap village on the north coast of Manus. The land and the sea continues to feed us and we appreciate the place where we are born into, live and work. It is not pretty at times but it is where we call home. It is the place where we will eventually die and be buried here. It is our home. It is where the sun rises so beautifully in the east and a village rises.

Enjoying the process in the work

Life in the village, especially those in rural and remote settings, can be a fun place to visit especially for tourists or for people who just come for the holidays. But for people who live there, it can be a struggle at times. Apart from poor access issues to good social services like heath, education and communication, villagers in Manus still have to struggle to get by. Most often, you have to physically exert yourself so that the basic needs of life can be satisfied.

Take for example, having fish to eat to supplement your diet of mostly carbohydrates such as cassava, sago, sweet potato, bananas, yams, taro and a little bit of greens . The process starts with making a canoe and goes through many stages before a canoe is finished and ready for sailing over the sea to the place where you can catch fish. It can take days, weeks or months to even select, carve, tighten, fix, pull and put together a decent canoe fit enough to pass over water.

Carving a canoe in the inland of Manus Island
My brother uses a hacking tool to chip away at the hull of the canoe

But to say that going through the process of making a canoe is tiring and difficult in order to catch a fish, even true? I guess it depends on the way you look at it. Some people enjoy the life that comes with the process of doing things. It may take several days or months but it may not be the work at all that is important when making the canoe. It is family connections, the tea drinking, the long stories in between, the learning that takes place, etc. All these things happen as the process of work i.e. making a canoe takes place.

Shaping a canoe at the beginning in the bushes of Kurti language group area in Manus Province.
Its a work in progress but something he enjoys doing

My small brother has been shaping a canoe from a tree he felled behind the house. This tree is very light but durable. Its easy to carve but it is taking time to develop. I sit beside him and talk to him while he works – asking questions about why he is doing this, how he intends to bring it down to the seaside since we are up on the mountains. He chats while his mind is on the work. He stops, looks at the angles, then continues chipping away. He uses an axe and then uses a hacking tool like a chisel but circular. Both are metal tools but represent what our people in the past have used to carve the canoe. We are both near a creek as he continues doing his work. He will shape the canoe and then after a few weeks, he will, with a group of his friends or family carry this down to the beach. It is around two hours walk down to the coast. Once there he will continue further shaping it, put the outrigger and carve the paddles.

Kingston Namun on Manus Island
Why not a selfie while at work!

Life is in the process. We work but we also have to find enjoyment in the work that we do. Otherwise what is the point of grinding away at work while we loose ourselves in the process?

Message in a bottle: From the Bismarck Sea to the Solomon Sea!

Around December in 2004, I had boarded a Lutheran Shipping vessel from Lae and travelled to Manus. I am not sure which ship it was but it definitely was either MV Manemba or MV Umboi which I am sure many people who travel by ship know. From Lae, Morobe Province, it takes one full day and two nights on the open sea before we land in Loregnau town, Manus Province. As is the custom when travelling on long trips over the sea, we take lots of fresh fruits, home cooked meals and lots of water to keep our stay on these cargo ships as homely as possible.

Anyway, we left the Lae port, Voco Point, at around 5pm and began the journey. By 10pm people like myself were already sound asleep. I woke up at around 5am to the sound of the sailors pulling in yellow fin tuna and mackerel. During the day I had nothing to do but play cards and tell stories with whoever I met on the ship. Besides, the majority of people on the ship were Manusians so it wasn’t hard finding people who liked to talk…lol

At around midday, we were heading full steam ahead. The sea was calm, the wind was slight and as far as the eye could see, there was no sign of land in all directions. After I had eaten salty biscuits and drunk a 500ml coca cola, I decided to try sending a letter in a bottle. I think I was inspired by a story that in the 1700s, a Japanese crew of 44, were shipwrecked and marooned on a small Island in the South Pacific. The captain scratched details of their story and fate onto chips of wood and put them into a bottle. The bottle was found 150 years later on the shoreline of Japan, reportedly, close to where the sailors had grew up.

Well I wrote my name and postal address on the white label of the Coca Cola bottle and said that whoever found it should write to me. In the middle of the Bismarck Sea, I threw the plastic bottle with the small note inside. I went home for the holidays in Manus then came back to Lae. It was the year 2005 and I was working away when early in March that year, I received a letter. And here is the exact letter that was written….

The letter that I received in Lae Post Office in 2005.
The actual letter from Andrew in Poroporo village
This pink line and then the white line respresent how I believe the plastic bottle travelled in the middle of the Bismarck Sea to the Solomon Sea to reach Poroporo village.


The coke plastic bottle with my note inside had reached Poroporo village at the tip of the Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands. It had gone international! WOW!!!!

It was picked up by a Mr. Andrew Silukana of Poroporo village just across the Papua New Guinea border! It had taken almost two months from when I first threw the bottle in the middle of the Bismarck to when Andrew picked it up in his village. I don’t know how it travelled there but my assumption is that it must have travelled past the gap between Manus and New Ireland or between East New Britain and New Ireland and then the strong tides of the Pacific Ocean travelling south must have pushed it down past the Autonomous Region of Bougainville right through to the tip of Choiseul province where Poroporo village is.
On that same day I quickly wrote a letter back to him on the address he had provided. But sadly, to this day I haven’t received a reply.

Em tasol!

Lopoki Inc begins discussions with NARI

Lopoki Inc. had the privilege to meet and talk to scientists from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) located at 10 mile outside Lae city last week.

The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) is Papua New Guinea’s premier publicly funded statutory research organization that has been conducting applied and development oriented research on food crops, emerging food and cash crops, livestock and resource management issues. NARI was established by an Act of Parliament in July 1996 and this saw the organization become the peak body in Papua New Guinea, providing technical, analytical and diagnostic services and up-to-date information on the agricultural sector. They have regional coordination centres in Momase (Bubia and Labu), Highlands (Aiyura and Tambul), Islands (Kerevat) and Southern (Laloki) and their emphasis is on the country’s smallholder semi subsistence farmers.

I’m standing infront of the gate leading to one of their agricultural sites at 10 mile, Bubia, just outside Lae.

Lopoki Inc. visited their Momase Regional office just outside Lae city at Bubia, 10 mile. Lopoki visited NARI to gain information for a potential future collaboration between NARI and Lopoki Inc.’s work in Manus particularly around agriculture. This is because NARI’s focus areas are on key domains such as seed systems, feeding systems, bio-agro ecosystems, soil management, climate change, marketing systems, cross cutting issues and farm mechanization. These are really the key areas of agricultural work that Lopoki Inc. believes need to be effectively mainstreamed into its rural agriculture work in Manus thus the visit to NARI seeking a partnership. In particular, Lopoki Inc. met with personnel from NARI to briefly discuss the possibility of farmer training/mentoring in the Pomotu Ndrehet Kurti Andra (PNKA) local level government area in Manus. The discussion also touched on possible food crop varieties for cultivation in PNKA villages.

Some of the informational materials given by the NARI team
The Dr. Ghodake National Biotechnology Centre
Just about to entre the Dr. Ghodake Building before the brief meeting

While this first visit was for information and finding the possibility for collaboration, Lopoki Inc. was indeed grateful to NARI personnel that took valuable time out from their work to meet with us. Lopoki Inc. thanks the Information Communications Associate Mr. Samuel Toposona who facilitated the arrangement for the meet at Bubia. In our roundtable discussion were Livestock Principal Scientist Dr. Michael Dom, Crop Team Leader Jeffrey Waki and Research Associate-Plant Genetic Resources Cecily Walters.

We all pose after the meeting. From Left: Livestock Principal Scientist Dr. Michael Dom. Next to him is myself with my daughter who came along with me. Beside us is Crop Team Leader Jeffrey Waki and (far right) Research Associate-Plant Genetic Resources Cecily Walters.

We thank the NARI scientists for their time and look forward to a fruitful collaboration in 2022.

If you are interested in the work NARI does in Papua New Guinea, you can visit their website: https://www.nari.org.pg/