PNG’s longest agricultural advocate has died

By Seniorl Anzu

A pioneer advocate of PNG agriculture and the longest serving President of the Highlands Farmers & Settlers Association (HFSA), Sir Sinake Giregire, passed away last week.

Late Sinake Giregire (left) meets PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Niell late last year. Pic: Post Courier

HFSA Vice-President, Jonah Buka, expressed sorrow and condolences to the people of Goroka and Daulo and family members and relatives of the late Giregire on behalf of the association and farmers that he become a role model of and the many that he encouraged and motivated to work and live of the land.

Through a press release this week, Mr Buka said the HFSA was established by expatriates in 1956 and Giregire was the first national admitted in 1958. He continued to be involved with HFSA in one way or another until he became the President in 1984, a position he held until his passing.

Immediately after Giregire left School in Finschaffen, he commenced his lifelong interest of working the land since 1953 in which he was engaged as an Agricultural Assistant at the then Department of Agriculture and Livestock’s Aiyura Research Station. He proceeded into planting coffee at Asaro and forestry approved tress around Goroka, Daulo and Yonki in the Eastern Highlands Province (EHP) and Banz in the Jiwaka Province.

Mr Buka said the HFSA is proud that in his political ambitions, the late Giregire continued to promote agriculture and utilisation of land since entering the political arena in 1957 as President of Asaro Watabung Local Government Council.

“Our President contributed the best of his years to the business, economics, agricultural and political development of this country since 1953 as a coffee farmer, entrepreneur and trader and in politics since 1957 at the inception of the LLG in the Highlands when he was elected Councilor and inaugural President of the Asaro Watabung LLG. He was also the first Member of the House of Assembly (parliament) in 1964 of the then Goroka Open (now Goroka, Daulo and Unggai Bena electorates) and Daulo Open between 1968-1977.”

Since 1967, he was the founder and Deputy Leader of United Party and founder, Leader and President of the PNG Country Party (since 1974) and in that role he continued to promote agricultural and rural development as the basis for the prosperity of PNG.

The late Giregire was Ministerial Member for Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries from 1968 to 1972.

Mr Buka said the late Giregire was the first national to own coffee plantations and factories and involved extensively in the development of coffee and agriculture and various business enterprises such as the Highlands Commodity Exchange, Collins & Leahy Ltd, and Farmset Ltd.

“We anticipate and encourage all farmers in the country and members of HFSA Inc to continue to take encouragement and continue the work of agriculture and the land as the backbone of the economy and the country,” he said.

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