Major Steven Yassang, Tararan


Welcome to Papua New Guinea’s own wild, Wild West. An hour and a half away from Lae is Cowboy Country Tararan! As we navigate through the Okuk Highway, a number of cattle ranches can be spotted, accessed through mud tracks. These massive ranches are set against the backdrop of the majestic mountains and boast of rich grasslands.

One such farm belongs to Major Steven Yasang, who has put in over 25 years of duty with the PNG Army. His pride and patriotism shines through. “When a soldier is in a crowd, he stands out. But that has changed. Old army traditions have died. We are not up to standard. And that’s why this cattle ranch is my exit plan.”

Major Steven Yasang is returning to his roots. The farm has been in his family for generations, run by a clan that warred a lot but also cultivated the land. Today, the ranch appears run down, but his vision is to revive it to its true potential.

“There are 1,000 wild cows here. We use horses and cowboys to herd and breed them. With the Wafi Gold Mine project opening up, there is an opportunity. We can provide beef meat to the site.”

But running a ranch comes with its share of challenges. Life is tough, the terrain and the weather tougher. To scale up operations and meet the market demand for beef, Major Steven needs logistical and manpower support. “There is a gap in management skills – this is like running a business. We need to think about financing, training, strategizing. We also need a mindset change. Let’s think bigger, let’s dream bigger, let’s become productive.”

Major Steven’s “never say die” attitude is refreshing. “In ten years’ time, we will be next level. We will have over 10,000 cows and be a big supplier of beef in the area.”

The Eat Smart Campaign is privileged to document the journey of cattle ranchers, farmers and fishermen from across Papua New Guinea.

Farmer Profiles

Live Instagram Feed