The headline information is that 2020 will be a much better year for us. We have never had it this good. So we are entering uncharted and very promising waters. 2020 to 2030 is a very exciting decade for us. I expect this to be the decade of exceptional growth and prosperity in the Greater Sepik Region.
This requires us to broaden our mind to see the new possibilities. For instance, in 2017, I told our people that cocoa prices will improve in 2019: plant cocoa, rehabilitate your blocks. Don’t wait for free handouts from Government. Invest in yourself, trust yourself. Well cocoa prices did improve and those who took the opportunity are now reaping the benefits. And they are going to get better in the near term.
The Cocoa market is worth $192b (K600b). Yes billion, not million. The Vanilla market is only worth around K2.5b. This is why I am confident the Cocoa market can accommodate many of our people.
I asked BSP and Kina Bank to open branches in Maprik and Angoram because we could see business activities increase in those two towns. I am still hoping they can open branches. An enterprising foreign business invested in a hardware and retail business in Angoram recently and they are reaping the benefits. Angoram is the next Maprik.
Your MPs are working. Sepik is creating new opportunities and our people who already own land need to position themselves to benefit from these opportunities. If you don’t, someone else will see the gap and move in.
Today the Sepik economy is worth around K800m annually. In another 2 years I am expecting this figure to at least double. That means 100% increase in opportunities.
We have many issues still to resolve. Land management is a major hurdle, law and order still needs to be improved, education, health, infrastructure, etc. Our public servants are struggling to move with the change in direction. But the main thing is that the situation is improving. There is no doubt about that. We are arresting the decline.
In January 2020 we expect UNFAO to setup office to begin the rollout of the EU STREIT Program. This will be the largest single investment in Agriculture in the South Pacific and certainly the Sepik Region. There are no free handouts. This is a program that will support those who are already here and working hard.
By June 2020 we expect to announce the Sepik Agriculture Blueprint.
This is a good time to start planning an investment in Sepik especially if you call this home.
The work of Government is to facilitate for the private sector. The biggest private sector is our own people. We are doing that. We are creating the environment for opportunities to grow.
We are living in a time of great promise. I encourage you to study the opportunities in Sepik and figure out how you can participate. The playing field is open to everyone. Only those with the discipline, commitment and the desire to work hard will succeed. Time to get in on the ground floor.
Happy New Year everyone.
2020 is going to be a great year! See you there, safe and ready to work.