Willie Kaeka, Tabeani


Willie Kaeaka could have chosen to work in an air-conditioned office in Port Moresby’s Central Business District as an accountant. But he chose to follow his heart. He became a farmer instead. In his 20s, he gathered the courage to start a farm which grew watermelons. Now he grows a variety of produce like pakchoy, aibika, beans, and cucumbers and supplies to Stop & Shop on a regular basis. The journey hasn’t been easy, yet it is very satisfying.

“I completed my graduation at the Pacific Adventist University and was weighing my options. I was very clear that I have to create value for my community and farming seemed the way to go. I started with 4 farm-hands and now employ a work-force of 20. It was an experiment – a trial and error method – that’s how I learnt about agriculture and farming techniques. There were mistakes but also a great deal of learning”

Willie’s farm is located along the 14-Mile highway in a village called Tabeani. When he was a child, he would walk over 7-km every day to attend school. Today, his village is connected to power and treated water, courtesy his efforts to uplift the entire community.

“When we talk about Take Back PNG, it isn’t about waiting for things to happen or for the government to help. It is about hard work, and making it happen yourself. We have land, now we need the drive to showcase the opportunity in agriculture”.

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