Posts Categorized: Business & economy

Local company works to improve copra quality

By Ishmael Palipal

Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM

Copra is the backbone of many Bougainvilleans, a commodity that has been financing majority of the population that lives along the flatlands, especially the coastlines of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Many of the local farmers, however, have not had the knowledge to properly prepare copra to the quality required for international exports.

To help them achieve that, a local company, Tambolema Copra Exports, has recently been carrying out awareness throughout the region.

The company is the first local copra exporter that is carrying out awareness, workshops and training to the locals, with the aim of organizing and supporting these local suppliers to produce best quality products.

Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck. Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck.

The company apart from trainings also aims to support improve the local copra dryers, so that high quality can be achieved.

The company support to the locals especially from the Central Bougainville was commended by many locals who were privileged to attend these trainings or workshops that was conducted in partnership with the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and Kokonas Indastri Koporetion (KIK).

KIK is a regulating body that makes sure exporters maintain top quality and quantity for exporting to overseas buyers. It works in support of Tambolema Copra Exporters in order to help the locals.

Tambolema also is up-skilling the locals because they believe that with the improve quality of dried copra, the quality export overseas will benefit the people and support the economic recovery program of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

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Tabago Sunday market discontinued for Sabbath

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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The Sunday market in Tabago is no longer a weekly occurrence in order to conform to Sunday law, which states that no one should be working and making money because it is a day of rest and worship.

The Sunday market in Tabago was started after crisis to provide services people, who travel far from the mountains of Pogisago and Leuro range to Tabago Parish for Sunday services. Since then mothers from the nearby villages thought it is acceptable to have Sunday markets in the Parish.

Local leaders have changed this to enforce Sunday law. They feel the whole week is dedicated to making other businesses, except Sunday which is dedicated to worship the living God.

“We come here to worship, therefore I do not want to see mothers selling food,” said Mr Nannou, a church worker of Tabago Parish.

“Everyone should come with something to eat after church service.”

Church elders and the parish chairman reiterated that Sunday law should not be breached.

“It a sin to breach the law, we all will be punished at the end,” Said Chairman Nabaam last week.

He also stated that young people today fail when it comes to attire, often wearing clothes which are unacceptable in Sunday services.

The discontinuation of Sunday market was a burden to the many who got used to the system and there have been complaints coming up from mothers about the change.

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Siwai mechanic gives new life to old vehicles

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Most people are focused on purchasing new vehicles and private business houses in Buin, Arawa and Buka are running a race of purchasing brand new land cruisers, but one Siwai man has shown that older models can be more valuable with the right care.

Steven Kauma, from Siwai in South Bougainville, has a gift for fixing cars and has recently set up his own business in Kokopau.

Mr Kauma started fixing cars at home when he was a young boy. After completing his schooling he applied to Moramora Technical School in Rabaul in 2001. He successfully completed his studies and graduated as a motor mechanic

In 2002 he came back to Bougainville and started working with his cousin Samuel, the owner of the car workshop called Sawai Motors at Kokopau, and Kauma was able to apply and improve the skills learnt in Moramora Technical School.

In 2015, after many years working in the Sawai Motors workshop, he started his own workshop at Kokopau.

He erected a building at the far end of Kokopau town, collected all his tools in a storeroom and started working independently on cars and trucks.

As soon as the public knew about his workshop and his prices they came rushing through the door.

Mr Kauma then found another problem with the shortage of labour and his own high workload. So he chose 3 mechanics from different areas to help him out, one each from Tinputz, Wakunai and Siwai.

Starting from October 2015 the number of customers started to increase and Mr Kauma and his colleagues started to get busy fixing cars every day including the weekends.

“We fix six to eight cars each day,” said Mr Kauma.

“I have regular customers from Tinputz, Wakunai, Buin, Siwai and Nagovis.”

Yesterday Mr Kauma was at Tearoki working on a gearbox and as he worked another truck was brought to his workshop.

“The engine and the gearbox are the main parts of a car,” Mr Kauma continued while fitting a gearbox,” I always work on them slowly with care.”

Mr Kauma said that his workshop is cheaper than other workshops in Buka and that’s why most of the cars are brought to his workshop.

“Fitting in parts and inspection of the car is very expensive in Buka,” he said, “it costs more than K8,000.”

“The number of cars in Bougainville is increasing but the number of car workshops is limited.”

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Marau market continues to grow

By Ishmael Palipal

People at Marua market on a Wednesday. People at Marua market on a Wednesday.

Along the western coast of South Bougainville the people of Torokina and Bana District are now benefiting from the recently established Marau Market.

Marau Market was initiated by the locals to help the people in Torokina and Bana District to sell their local produce goods such as garden goods and sea food.

The market is slowly expanding as more people start to frequent the market, which generally takes place twice a week on a Wednesday and a Saturday.

People come as far as Siwai and Arawa to buy goods from Marau, since most of the goods sold in the market are cheap compared to other markets in the region.

Saksak (sago) houses that are used as shelter at the Marau Market. Saksak (sago) houses that are used as shelter at the Marau Market.

According to the market manager and security, Mr Petro, the people wanted to build a more permanent market house so that mothers or those people selling their produce can sit well and sell their produce. He stated that market gathers for around 300-400 people in those two market days.

When asked if someone as already pledged funds for a new market building, he stated that they are just preparing the place hoping if the government or other interested person can help fund the market building so the people can have proper place to market their produce.

“We have already started it, we just want to know if the government can help us establish a better building,” said the market manager Mr Petro who is from the Nagovis area of Bana District.

Mr Petro speaking at the market. Mr Petro speaking at the market.
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A cry in the heart of a Panguna saw miller

By Leonard Fong Roka

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My uncle Steven Domiura is just 32 years of age and over this relatively short period of time he has witnessed the burden that local population growth has put on the few forest resources that his communities in the Tumpusiong Valley of Panguna District can reach to improve their living standards.

A trip to mill my timber at Nakorei Village in Buin last December was a cry in his heart.

The hardwood tropical tree (called bee in Nasioi, tolas in Buka or Moikui to the Buin people) is a sought after tree for building homes across Bougainville. It is sawn raw or felled and left to decompose its outer bark and expose the hardwood and timber millers love it since their chainsaw reaps the tree easily despite its hardness and weight.

In the Upper Tailings zone of the Tumpusiong Valley this valuable timber tree, both those matured and standing and those felled many years ago and laying on the ground, have now disappeared. There are a few still buried in the Panguna mine created tailings of the Tumpusiong Valley but that will take some period to await erosion to expose them for the timber hungry Tumpusiong people.

Since getting his chainsaw four years ago, Domiura had not touched a bee in his timber milling career at home, but a trip to Nakorei Village was mesmerized as he was hopping for four days from bee to bee, around the tiny hamlet of my in-laws.

“In Panguna today we have the money or have easy access to cash but no tree to cut and mill timber to build our homes,” he said in Buin.

“Unlike up at Panguna, the people at Nakorei village struggle a little to make money but they have the resources like the jungle to help them improve their living standards.

“In Buin’s Nakorei Village everywhere you look there is a moikui lying on the ground or standing in the forest waiting to be milled for timber, but in Panguna every maturing tree is felled day by day to meet their needs.”

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Most people in the Panguna District now go searching for timber into the Bana, Siwai and Buin Districts of South Bougainville. At home most are penetrating deep into Bougainville’s mountain backbone the Crown Prince Range, while others travel north on the east coast of Bougainville as far as Wakunai District for timber. Others are growing their own trees or buying timber at the many timber yards in Arawa Town.

For Steven Domiura and his chainsaw Nakorei Village was a shock. Out of the 350 pieces of timber on my list he milled 230 pieces in four days, intermittently giving way to the downpour of rain.

‘The bee here is too much,’ he was joked, “in the kitchen huts, under all these sago thatched homes they lay waiting for a chainsaw to cut them up.”

“In the gardens and the cocoa plots the timber hoisting trees are there.”

“Many of these trees, felled some years back, have decomposed their outer softer skin layers and are now dry that the chainsaw has no difficulty penetrating the bole so I have the efficiency to get more timber in a day.”

Steven and his machine will be back in Buin in February to complete his contract of milling my timber for a house in Buin and continue onto extracting timber for a house in Panguna.

Milling timber in Buin for Panguna has its own costs especially transport from Buin to Panguna that is about K1000. Getting Steven to Buin from Panguna costs some money. His chainsaw hire goes for a K150 per day and the operator goes for a K100 per day including his assistants.

The chainsaw’s fuel and lubricants gets a toll on pockets. In Arawa petrol hangs around K5 per litre and the pre-mix goes to K6 and in Buin it goes up to K6 per litre and the premix goes to K7. While the 2-stroke oils to mix with the petrol vary in accordance to their container sizes.

The engine oil to cool the cutting chain is the most expensive item so most rural chainsaw operators now prefer cooking oil for their machines, but nothing should come in between to bringing a chainsaw man from Panguna to Buin.

There is a belief, perhaps embellished, across the timber milling populace of Bougainville that a chainsaw man from an environment with no trees will kill any tree with more efficiency than the chainsaw man from the tree-rich environment.

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Street vendors unhappy with law enforcement

By Leonard Fong Roka

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A group of women at the Bendaun Market at Section 17-18 suburb of Arawa Town have complained that they are not allowed to sell around the town.

The women believe they should be allowed to sell their produce anywhere in Arawa in order to earn a living and that there are greater law and order issues that should be pursued.

“The police’s task is to help with the bigger law and order problem on Bougainville,” the Kongara-Pokpok Island woman said, as she sat brushing flies away from her smoked fish.

“They are not here to chase our poor women around Arawa that are trying to make a living by selling their goods.

“We mothers are not the ones littering the township as they have said; we are not the ones drinking alcohol and howling like while dogs during the nights.

“Police should chase the boozing populace that roam free and lock them in the jail and do not suppress our right to earn a living.”

To the women vendors the Arawa Urban Council is the culprit that is pushing the police to chase them from vending everywhere in town.

“We run after customers everywhere in town,” said the other woman, a Panguna lady who resides in Arawa with her businessman husband.

“We set up our tables anywhere in response to the movement of customers. That is how I make a living to add onto what my husband makes from our business.”

“We have power bills to pay for, school fees for our children and I have heard that soon the urban council will be charging us for water usage.”

“We are not only talking about women from Kieta or Panguna alone. Arawa is Bougainville’s town and we have women from Nagovis, Siwai, Buin and many other parts of Bougainville that the police are chasing around.”

Late in November, a police patrol running after women vendors in the business centre of Arawa was confronted by a band angry women who told to the police that they were the mothers of Arawa and who will not be uproot them.

According to the Bendaun Market women, if they continue to be chased away from their business they will march to the offices of the two government bodies and demand compensation.

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Bazaar brings Kurai community together

By Tevu Tenasi

717-grace-paul Ms Grace Paul, Kurai Women’s Association chairlady, addresses the crowd at the bazaar.

While everyone else was relaxing celebrating the Christmas and New Year festive season, the Kurai women in South Nasioi constituency were getting active.

Kurai Women’s Association comprises of 5 groups, Manuatavu, Eko, Kompani, Ponsinae and Osivotu.

It dawned on them the idea of earning a little cash to support their families, especially during the year ending festive season.

Through their chairlady, Miss Grace Paul, a mini-bazaar was the best suitable means of meeting their needs.

Held over two days the mini-bazaar brought the whole community together during the Christmas and New Year celebration.

The main highlights of the fundraiser were item sales at each stall including crafts, sewing and food, which kept the mothers busy, self-reliant and productive.

According to Ms Paul, the main aim of hosting such an important event was to enable mothers to earn funds to support their families during the festive season and also to cater children’s school fee needs.

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The event also brought some of their political leaders together. Constituency leader Mr Simon Dasiona, ABG Central Women’s Representative Ms Marcelline Kokiai, Mr David Maliku and other local leaders all contributed through their presence at the event.

In her official opening speech Ms Kokiai said that Women are to be supported in the community because life begins with them. On the other hand she also encourage women to pursue education on much higher standards so that they help their communities.

Mr Dasiona mentioned that parents are entirely responsible for their children and not to rely heavily on government funding.

“Parents: utilise cash crops such as cocoa and copra to meet your basic needs; don’t wait for government funding all the time,” Mr Dasiona told the crowd.

A challenging speech by Mr David Maliku also brought attention to law and justice. He talked about problems arising from alcohol and other drugs like marijuana, which are affecting most communities in Bougainville.

The second and final day of the event was closed with traditional and contemporary dances and live musical performances.

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New Marau market rivals Buin

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Since before the crisis there has been no Saturday market of better repute than the Buin Market. Today though Buin Market has a competitor its position has the best-of-the-best Saturday Market in Bougainville.

The Marau Market just erupted in mid-2015 after JSK Plants Hire rehabilitated the Marau feeder road from the Moratona Health Centre in the Bana District of South Bougainville.

Marau Market is considered by many to be safer market than Buin which is prone to local conflicts often created by drunkards. In these regular conflicts women are the most common victims and their produce is often stolen by opportunist thugs.

Sellers from the neighbouring Solomon Islands are also affected and have had thugs rob them and re-sell the stolen goods in the streets.

But this is not the case at the newly established Marau Market.

Marau Market, in the Banoni Coastline where the Jaba River drags down from the Panguna Mine and meets the blue Solomon Sea, is now a Saturday trip for people from Bana District, Torokina District and Panguna District; and now the Siwai District in South Bougainville and the Kieta District in Central Bougainville are joining in the buying and selling.

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Boats from the many coastal and inland villages of Torokina crisscross the sea laden with fish, garden produce and people. From the sea, they manoeuvre through the rough shores of Marau, which has no barriers reefs or islands to pacify it, and enter the combined estuary of Nonopa-Ore-Pagara Rivers and land on swaying canopies of trees some 2-hundred metres away from the roaring sea waves.

Many surrounding villagers walk down there to start the Saturday in their many coconut and their makeshift sago palm thatched shelters.

In the Panguna District, transport trucks from the Bana District wake the homes by blaring their horns at about 4 in the morning. Besides that, transport crews keep singing ‘Marau…Marau Market, please wake up all and let’s go Marau.’

A Panguna man, who lives and breathes gold money, cannot hesitate, for in Marau goods are far cheaper than Arawa Market and the Buin Market.

Furthermore, there is a gold rush in the Torokina District. Most villages in the Panguna District are empty of able men since all are heading to Torokina from the Marau Market, which is the main boat-stop for entering and leaving Torokina.

Nearly all the wealthy pockets from the Torokina gold fields enter the first trade at the Marau Market.

Thus the Buin Market organisers have to start thinking about what to do to remain the best and most attractive Saturday market for Bougainvilleans; otherwise Torokina will out-do it, for gold money and trouble-free environment of Marau is not known in Buin.

Boats from the Western province of the Solomon Islands are now entering Marau. Some others arrive by land transport from Buin and even Arawa.

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Floriculture engages women in small business

633-floriculture-womenBy Ancitha Semoso

Some women of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have been growing flowers as one means of earning income.

As many people talk about agendas such resource development, cocoa and copra production and other related assets that can generate revenue to the region, these Bougainville mothers are doing it their own way by growing flowers and selling them.

There are Bougainville women who have turned to the flower business as a means of generating income, which they see as a way of contributing to their families’ needs.

Many women have now made agreements with the ABG directorates and divisions to put fresh flowers in the offices daily, with each mother engaged for a period of three months. This is an exercise which is a way in which we empower women to make sure of to make use of their talents and what is available to them.

Each woman is given the responsibility of decoration for three months and at the end of the period she is paid K1500.

While some women in other parts of the country are looking into big projects and other business means, these black pearls are developing flower business products to sell their flowers and other handcrafts at the end of every month.

Women must be treated fairly within the society; we should empower women of all skillsets and see them as assets of development.

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Craft show empowers businesswomen

623-flower-show-bukaEntrepreneurialism has been encouraged among Bougainville women at a flower and craft event held in Buka.

The Bougainvillea Flowers and Craft Show was hosted at Bel Isi Park in Buka town and ran from 17-22 August.

The theme of the show was ‘financially empowering women’ and, fittingly, women from around the region came to set up their stalls to show off and sell their creations.

A wide variety of skills and local businesses were on display at the show, including florists, dressmakers and traditional basket weavers.

This show and the others like it provide an opportunity for Bougainville’s women to promote and expand their businesses and exert their financial independence.

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