Vendors and communities of Wabag District and nearby areas in Enga Province now have improved market facilities to engage in commerce and trade of their products and produce. The new market complex funded by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership together with the Wabag District Development Authority opened in Wabag Town on Monday 28 March.
The new complex includes 139 stalls, vendor transit accommodation, a women’s business administration centre, male and female ablution blocks, first aid facilities and a cafeteria. The market complex is specifically designed to cater for women’s groups, vendors and those who buy and sell at the market to ensure their needs are met through improved accessibility, safety, hygiene standards and economic opportunity.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner Dr Joanne Loundes joined Enga Governor, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources and Wabag MP, Dr Lino Tom, and representatives from UN Women to open the facility.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner Dr Joanne Loundes (centre), Enga Governor, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas (left) and Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources and Wabag MP, Dr Lino Tom, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the market.
In her address, Dr Loundes stated that markets everywhere in PNG are at the centre of everyday life across the country, and play a critical role in driving economic activities, maintaining and improving food security, and increasing livelihoods for vendors, patrons, and small business enterprises.
“I am pleased to see that the market will not only support the women’s groups and vendors who will be the primary users and custodians of this market complex, but also showcase the high-quality fresh produce that Enga province is known for, she added.”
UN Women has been working closely with women’s representative groups from Wabag District to institutionalise the governance and management framework for the market complex, which will be run by a women’s association.
Some of the facilities inside the new market.
Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources and Member for Wabag, Dr Lino Tom, stated that the project can deliver wide benefits for the community and is part of the DDA’s policy focus on development small to medium enterprises in the agricultural sector.
“This policy is inclusive and allows for those who fall out of the formal education pathway to go back to their land and pursue opportunities in the agriculture sector”, Dr Tom said.
He continued “We also want to encourage and empower our women who are heavily involved in the agriculture sector and so, this new market complex offers a great opportunity for our women led agri-businesses to drive economic growth and thrive in this sector.”
Dr Tom added that the people of Wabag District and the broader Enga province are extremely grateful to the Australian Government and people of Australia for this critical infrastructure project.
The PNG-Australia Partnership is proud to invest in improved market spaces, economic growth and empowerment of women in remote and regional places across PNG.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100