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Rhado Piggery says it’s time to support local industry

Joe Wasia detailJOE WASIA | Supported by the Bob Cleland Writing Fellowship

FOR YEARS MANY local businesses in Papua New Guinea have never been given a facelift.

Almost all financial assistance from the banks and government have concentrated on multinational companies with little or no financial help to local businesses.

However, these local businesses have managed to survive with the most determined and dedicated hearts and minds.

Rhado Piggery Limited is one good example. The company, formerly known as Hagen Planters Ltd, specialises in breeding-weaning, growing, producing and selling live and slaughtered pigs to the National Capital District and Central Province.

The farm is located in 15-Mile along Sogeri road in Central Province, less than half an hour’s drive from Port Moresby. It’s located next to one of the PNG’s oldest companies, Hugo Cannery Ltd, a manufacturer of Ox & Palm tinned meat.

For more than 20 years, managing director of the company Robert Rasaka has been committed and dedicated to the business.

Mr Rasaka said he started the business with less then 50 pigs in early 1990s. Now the company has thousands of pigs and its one the leading pig breeders in the country. Every week hundreds of pigs are sold live or slaughtered and hundreds more are born to replace them.

Mr Rasaka said major supermarkets in NCD order three times a week. And the company supplies them in the hundreds. Individuals and families also buy direct from the company.

Recently Rhado expanded its business to Koita Oroma Boita (KOB) Estate, a few kilometres away, which is run separately but under the same company name. The new farm has more than 2,000 pigs and it’s increasing production every day.

In the next five years the company will supply slaughtered and lives pigs to more than 70% of the fresh meat outlets in National Capital District and Central Province.

If PNG is to move forward, funding and supporting local businesses is important. This will help improve the economy and reduce high unemployment.

Over the years, Mr Rasaka said Rhado piggery had spent nearly K500, 000 annually on VAT alone. He stressed this money could have been his company’s annual profit that could be used to expand the business.

In 2011, he called on the government for tax exemption on stockfeed to enable the piggery industry in PNG to survive and meet growing demand in the country.

Radho Piggery spends around K444, 000 a month on stockfeed from Goodman Fielder in Lae and sometimes buys from Australian suppliers.

The company has survived with hard work, dedication and commitment despite zero assistance from any responsible government authorities or banks.

It’s about time the government, through its responsible agencies, supported local business by guaranteeing easy loans, tax concessions and promotion.


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Gerald Rebibis

How do I apply for a piggery farm? I really admire and have an interest in PNG piggery farming. But where to apply?

Matt Radaas

This particular investor in the livestock industry is a role model to everyone. His dedication has paid off and the government od the day should look into supporting such local business to move forward into downstream processing. The setup is already there so any capacity building and financial support will sure help move forward such businesses...I salute u Mr. Rakasa...

Obert Nathan

To my understanding, Chinese running businesses in the country are simply draining our money reserves to build their country's economy; we only benefit from the employment they provide, the taxes they pay and simple contracts they offer us which are only 10% of their total expenses.

The rest of the money is spend on finished products which they import. It's time for the government to build more 100% nationally-owned firms and industries.

For the government to build a tuna cannery in the country would cost tremendously less than what it costs for it to build a flyover road and will generate our country K12 million profit every year.

Ruben Fuapo

It's about time the government funded piggery training through the IFC program.

People in PNG should have the basic idea of raising all types of livestock and supplying them to the nation.

It will help reduce a lot of costs and taxes if PNG gets into the meat production business.

Joe Wasia

Kaiam - I don't think every Papua New Guinean is lazy. Many of our people are business-minded and work-loving and that's why, with committed and dedicated hearts and minds, they survive in the wilderness.

They survive without any assistance from government or agencies. Mr. Rasaka is one of these.

Kaiam, you think it would work well if we allowed foreigners, especially Asians, to manipulate business here PNG. But you must also think about your children and whether they will benefit from these foreign-run businesses.

If we can't do something now our children, we will have no choice but work for K80 fortnight for Asians.

It's about time these local businesses were given a major facelift before we blame ourselves.

Kaiam Mono

Asians in PNG are a boost for the nation's economy. Papua New Guineans are lazy, lack punctuality and honestl and are not work loving.

We're very good at spending money left, right and centre. I don't think people with such attitudes will do business.

Government must allow more foreigners into business in PNG. It is and will be a boost for this nation.

Jenny Jacob

I know Robert Rasaka very well. He is a hard working man who has been in this industry for more that 20 years.

His piggery business employs hundreds of youths from his Enga, Central, NCD, Hela, Simbu and Morobe provinces.

Like other local businesses, this farm needs supports from the government and responsible people. It's about time to support them in whatever ways possible.

We know that government cannot provide opportunities for the vast majority of the youths in our country.

I believe these local businesses will reduce unemployment in Papua New Guinea. Give these guys a go!

Jenny Jacob

I know Robert Rasaka very well. He is a hard working man who has been in this industry for more that 20 years.

His piggery business employees hundreds of youths from his Enga, Central, NCD, Hela, Simbu and Morobe provinces.

Like other local businesses, this farm needs support from government and the responsible people. It's about time to support them in whatever ways possible.

We know the government cannot provide opportunities for the vast majority of youths in our our country.

I believe these local businesses will reduce the unemployment rate in Papua New Guinea. Give these guys a go!

Joe Wasia

Bernard, I agree with you. Many of our local people lack managerial skills. However, under its strategic plans, government should give them proper training on how to manage and be responsible for businesses.

It won’t give money just for the sake for funding. The government will make sure these Papua New Guineans are responsible for their business.

Ben - Yes only if government supports local businesses in PNG will we see lot of changes by 2050.

If we fail, PNG will be a mere spectator in its own land in terms of business, mining, oil and gas etc.

Joe Wasia

Thanks guys for the comments. Yes, the local businesses need to be boosted by the government, banks and the responsible agencies.

I support Stanley and Lei with their points. In recent years successive government agencies have blindly allowed foreigners, especially Asians, into PNG.

Most of them illegally entered the country just to do business as they saw greater business opportunities here than in their countries.

We see and read from media reports every day of Asians in the country without proper visas and passports. Some of them are even charged and deported but many are still here.

In almost all cities and rural villages of PNG anything to do with business is dominated by Asians. If you look at your own towns you would agree with me.

In the far remote parts of the Southern Highlands, in a place called Moro, there is a Chinese supermarket. And that is the only shop in the village.

Up in the basins of the Kikori River there is another Chinese shop and that is the only shop in the village.

On the famous Kokoda track there are a couple Chinese shops. In every village, town and city you go to there are Asians. And the number of Asians is increasing every year.

Does that mean all PNGeans cannot do business? We have people who have great interest in business. Why can’t we groom these people to take the business opportunities?

Government and responsible agencies must finance the local businesses to proper in industry. Allowing foreigners -mini-business up to large multinational companies - does nothing for the local Papuan New Guineans who become poorer on their own land.

The pace this country is moving in mining, oil and gas, logging and business is really sad. We are mere spectators with less or no participation. It’s ridiculous.

We need to raise our own people before we blame ourselves for ruining our people and the country. If we cannot do something now we will have no place in our own country.

Ben Otto

If government want to achieve MTD by 2015 and to rank high in Human Development Index by 2050, this is one of the areas that she should support. Government must open her eyes from all angles to see the needs of local business men and women.

Bernard Yegiora

It is not only funding but as well managerial know-how. We lack proper managerial skills and sound understanding of running a business.

Stanley Wigman

Thanks KJ, for the warm welcome. I access internet not so often but will be very interested to read some of the great articles on this site.

I'm not a good writer or reader but have great interest in discussing issues affecting my country. Honour you guys for being a bunch of great writers.

Stanley Wigman

Why Asians? Does the 'look north' policy mean all businesses and the economic sector in PNG will be ruled by Asians and the Chinese? Does the government have plans to manage and reduce the influx of Asians in PNG?

If we can't support our own people we will be poor in our own land. Think and act, government!

Anyway, mi first time mangi lo PNG Attitude na find it interesting to read here. Thanks Joe for raising this.

And a warm welcome to you, Stanley - KJ

Thyson Mack

Thanks Joe for this great article. Thumbs up, Mr Rasaka, for the success.

Supporting local businesses is the way forward either by the government, organisations or ourselves.

Why allow hundreds of Asians especially Chinese to run mini-trade stores from rural villages up to multinational companies in the cities and towns of this country?

Does that mean that Papua New Guineans are unable to run business in their country?

I think many of our people have great interests in business but funding is the problem. Some manage to survive against all odds, and a good example is Robert Rasaka

Michael Dom

I can relate to this story. It is time that local industry got more support from everyone, not just government. In the end customers make or break any business.

An entire market approach is required to address the local farming industry agenda, for all scales of production crop and livestock. It will take more than just a strategic plan.

There are real practical plans and actions that can be taken to improve local farming in PNG. But is our food production industry;
(a) United with one voice as an organized entity
(b) Clear on where it needs to go, with defined realistic objectives
(c) Prepared to take active and collaborative actions to get to where they want to go

Its time we thought outside the box of Western paradigms of food production.

Who said we need all that grain (K5.3million pa) to raise pigs anyway, why always larger scales of production instead of more units of production - which mode employs more but costs less; which mode offers far greater benefits to the entire economy?

I believe that if farmers really got their heads together, they wouldn't need a government loan or subsidies.

Lei Atua

Mr Rakasa's interesting initiative shows it is about time locally owned businesses were given a boost in this country, rather than giving chances to Chinese and Asians to run small business which our own local people can operate.

They become successful while we become consumers and blindly invest in the pockets of foreigners.

It's an eye-opening situation and the government must act to support local business around the country.

It will improve living standards and provide employment and indirectly it will limit the crime rate in this country. It's about time the government performed its rightful duties.

Tim Ashton

Almost all financial assistance from the banks and government have concentrated on multinational companies with little or no financial help to local businesses.

Says it all

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