KUNDIAWA - The announcement by Innovation Agro Industries (IAI) at Ilimo Farm outside Port Moresby that its locally produced milk will find the shelves of PNG supermarkets next month has been received with mixed reactions.
IAI managing director Ian Weiss told PNG News that 746 cows were producing six tonnes of milk a day with production aimed to be ramped up to 12,000 tonnes a day by March.
“The quality is in the taste,” said Mr Weiss, “I’ve got years of diary experience and this is the best you can get globally.”
To many Papua New Guineans, the announcement is welcome news for the local economy especially at a time when imported milk product prices are high due to the falling value of the kina and government tariffs.
Once the IAI product hits the supermarkets, it will create competition against imports, giving consumers an economical choice.
Furthermore, there’s been a K100 million investment in the enterprise which has created employment for locals.
But Papua New Guineans who have been to Ilimo Farm are querying the existence of the 746 cows Mr Weiss claims are producing the milk.
“They have to show us where the dairy farm and cows are,” Joe Larry Chinau told PNG Today. “Ilimo farm has no land for cows. Where is the milk coming from?
“The last thing we need is to be putting more chemicals into our kids’ bodies so can someone confirm that this large herd of cows exists?” he asked.
Eragairma Yal confirmed this view. “Where could the cattle farm be and how could they manage to raise 746 cows? Is it indoor grazing like the hydroponic farm at Nine Mile?”
Other people have raised similar concerns.
“Unless it’s hidden up in the hinterland, there is no notable green grass for cow grazing,” said AH Robin.
For the good of the company, its products and its customers, Mr Weiss should answer a straightforward question. Where are the dairy farm and its 746 cows?
Consumers have a right to know exactly what’s offered to them and what they take into their bodies.