Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Book publisher concerned about falling literacy levels

 Papua New Guinea’s most-prominent book publisher, Robert Brown, has expressed concern about falling literacy levels in the country. 
Prominent PNG book publisher Robert Brown.

He said the reading culture prevalent among young people in the 1970s was no longer there, hence, the very low literacy levels even among university students.
He attributed this to the lack of good quality publications relevant to PNG.
“Totally inadequate,” Brown said.
“We need to do more in bringing books to the children in the schools and also to the general public.
“There’s more to be got out of books than in front of computers, television, and so on.
“The lack of bookshops in Papua New Guinea is very sad.
“You name me on bookshop in Papua New Guinea now.”
Brown also said the children of the 1970s were much more literate than the children of today.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“The power of the book, in lots of ways, has been underestimated.
“It’s quite strange that in America, most people who are educators use comics as a medium to educate to read.
“We used to sell lots of comics up here, you don’t see this anymore.
“It at least got the kids reading.
“Reading’s the word.
“As you say, a kid in university can’t write his own name, and that’s sad. “
Brown, however, added that times were changing and more people would be taking to books.
“Things are starting to move again,” he said.
“It’s a bit sad that it’s taken so long.
“Things are taking a turn for the better, but we still need people to invest in bookshops…I think it’s time someone bites the bullet and opens up a decent bookshop in Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, and Rabaul.”

Pre-launch of new PNG book

A new publication ‘Papua New Guinea’s Pictorial History’ will be launched in early 2015.
The book, in two volumes, ‘Pre 1975’ and ‘Post 1975’, had a sneak preview in Port Moresby on Tuesday, September 23,  night with a pre-launch of this exciting new publication on PNG.
Publisher Robert Brown and author Dianne McInnes at the book’s pre-launch.

Guests had the chance to meet the author Dianne McInnes and publisher Robert Brown, from Pictorial Press in Queensland – publishers of over 160 titles on PNG since the 1960s.
“This publication is to mark the 90th anniversary of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce, PNG’s 40th year of Independence, and the 15th Pacific Games to be held in the nation’s capital in 2015,” said chamber chief executive Dave Conn.
“It will be a collector’s item for anyone who has a love and association with Papua New Guinea.”

Kandrian-Gloucester no mean feat

Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang says bringing services into his remote and isolated district is one of the most-unenviable tasks he has to do.
“Kandrian-Gloucester district is very isolated and is remote,” he said recently after signing a communication towers agreement with National Broadcasting Commission managing director Memafu Kapera.
Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang speaking to reporters

“There is no road from Kandrian to Kimbe, the provincial capital of West New Britain.
“Kandrian faces Oro and Milne Bay provinces, so if I want to go to Kimbe, I have to take an eight-hour boat ride to the border with East New Britain at Pomio, and take a vehicle from there across five or six rivers, drive for six to eight hours to Talasea, and go from there to Kimbe.
“If I want to travel the other way, to Gloucester, I have to travel past the Siassi islands in Morobe, overnight at a place called Garu, and then travel through the oil palm blocks at Mosa into Kimbe.
“It’s very, very long, it’s very, very tough.
“A lot of public servants can’t go into the district because there’s no light, there’s no shopping light, there’s no wholesale, there’s no service station, there’s no fuel depot, everybody doesn’t want to have anything to do with that particular electorate.
“And yet, it’s one of the most-beautiful districts in this entire country.
“The people there still have the old ways with them.
“They don’t have the rottenness and decay of urban life.”
Lelang said the popular phrase “Pasin West” referred to the traditional hospitality of the Kandrian-Gloucester people.
“They face a lot of problems, particularly associated with heavy rain,” he said.

Kandrian-Gloucester leaps into digital age

Remote Kandrian-Gloucester in West New Britain, one of the most-isolated and difficult districts in the country, has taken a giant leap into the digital age with three communication towers to be installed there by National Broadcasting Commission.
 Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang last Wednesday signed documents with NBC managing director Memafu Kapera for K3.3 million worth of communication infrastructure to be installed and bring television, radio, mobile phone, and Internet accessibility to the district.

Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang signing documents with NBC managing director Memafu Kapera.

The occasion was witnessed by representatives from Kandrian-Gloucester as well as district budget committee representatives.
“In my electorate there are large black spots where people can’t have access to communication signals,” Lelang said. 

 Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang and NBC managing director Memafu Kapera with the signed documents.

“The project will take eight months for completion so by early next year we should be able to launch everything that we signed for today.
“The total cost of this project is K3.3 million, and upon signing today, we will release K2 million to NBC for them to start procuring towers, and we will pay the rest after that according to the payment schedule.”

 Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang presenting the K2 million payment to NBC managing director Memafu Kapera.

Lelang said NBC had been requested to bring in Kundu 2 Television services into Kandrian-Gloucester by the end of this year.
Kapera said NBC was are rolling out a new concept of telecommunication services in Papua New Guinea between itself, government entities, and the private sector.
“We know that communications is fast changing the lifestyles of many people right across the country, including the rural areas, where the majority of our people live,” he said.
“It’s a concept that we are developing  specifically to partner with the government in setting up district authorities and make them self-reliant in terms of generating revenue and facilitating projects in localities around the country.
“This is the first time this concept has been launched and will be branched out to other areas.”
Lelang, a Secretary for National Planning in his past life, said one of the 2015 Millenium Development Goals was reducing poverty.
“One of the goals is to do with reduction of extreme poverty,” he said.
“Poverty comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms.
“The definition of poverty in this country is one of access problems.
“When people don’t have access to basic services like water, roads, telecommunication, radio services, that’s poverty.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll grows, produces, and exports his own coffee

Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll has showed that he is one who practices what he preaches by growing, producing, and exporting his own brand of coffee.
Tomscoll, his wife, and children attracted a large crowd at Gateway Hotel on Sunday, September 21,  when they showcased their brand-new product, Simbai Coffee, which is premium organic coffee from this remote part of Madang which borders Jiwaka and Enga provinces.
 A proud Tomscoll family of Simbai with their new Simbai Coffee. At back (l-r) are Sibona, Tommy, and Elizabeth. Middle row are Josephine, Vernetta, and Stephne. Front are are Tristan and Junior.

The packed Simbai Coffee ready for export and supermarket shelves.

Tomscoll family members showcasing Sibai Coffee at last week's  cupping competition

The occasion was the launching of the weeklong inaugural PNG Coffee Growers’ Cupping Competition at Gateway Hotel which is being attended by smallholder coffee growers from throughout the country as well as international coffee tasters.
“I’m a coffee and cocoa farmer and exporter as well,” Tomscoll said,
“Simbai Coffee is grown by the people of Kalam tribe, who all live in Simbai, on the border with Jimi in Jiwaka and Kompiam in Enga.
“Simbai people live along the border, and this is the coffee we grow organically, on family blocks, and then sell.”
Tomscoll said only coffee grown in Simbai was used to produce Simbai Coffee to maintain its originality and premium.
Selected beans are then bagged and airlifted by light aircraft on the short 20-minute flight to Mt Hagen where it is processed and mixed with other beans for flavor, and then exported
He said he only started producing Simbai Coffee about three months ago.
“We grow coffee, and we also buy coffee from all our farmers, which is then converted into green bean using our new machine, and then turned into ground coffee.
“Our first market is in Cairns.”
Tomscoll said he also grew and exported cocoa out of Madang.
“We might also go into oil palm soon,” he said.
Tomscoll’s wife and children also took part in the week-long cupping competition where they showcasde their very own Simbai Coffee.