Jana Salayu, 14-Mile


Along the 14-Mile Highway, lies the sprawling Ilimo Dairy Farm, the first commercial milk production facility in Papua New Guinea. A model of self-sufficiency, the farm is giving tough competition to imported international brands by slashing prices and making basic dairy products accessible to an average Papua New Guinean.

In just 4 years, the farm has grown from the New Zealand origin cows breeding into 4th generation of over 700 PNG born-and-bred cows. At the operational helm is Jana Salayu, an administrative management graduate who was groomed for her role as the Manageress.

“No one thought Papua New Guinea could get into dairy production, but we are doing it now. Our products are 100% PNG-made, which is a matter of great pride. You look around and see that Papua New Guineans are working in key positions, from management to maintaining standards to production. Innovative Agro Industries is building capacity locally, by employing young people like me.”

The farm produce 5,000 liters a day with an average of 26 liters per cow. The cows are closely monitored and their vitals tracked, through a high-tech system. Information on the cow’s health, estimated milk production capability vs actual, rest time, movements are tracked and collected on a day-to-day basis. The scale and level of operation is surprising for a country that had no record or experience of dealing with a dairy market.

At the core of its success is the intensive transfer of knowledge – from growing the feed to raising calves to health treatments to bottling and labeling.

“I spent over 9 months in Israel, learning and getting trained. It is very different there, tougher and more to do with quick thinking and working. Before I used to think that we needed more people, but after coming back, even if half the team is not there, we can still work for sure”, says Jana.

This Farm to Shelf process is actually a revelation of how innovation, hard-work and capacity building can create the foundation of a brand-new industry in the agriculture and livestock sector.

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