Generating shared value, empowering women, addressing food security issues and collaborative partnerships are all key components of Oil Search's sustainable development approach. Since 2012, Oil Search has been committed to an agribusiness project that suits all these criteria.

Hailans Pik Kampani (HPK) Limited is a husbandry and pork production business in PNG that was set up by Business for Millennium Development (B4MD) using seed funding from Oil Search. The project is co-ordinated by Business for Millennium Development (B4MD), which links businesses and communities so that together, they can develop sustainable, inclusive business models that help alleviate poverty.

With B4MD's support, HPK has been trialling different pig feed regimes and small-scale pig husbandry techniques since 2013 at a piggery outside Port Moresby. The ultimate goal is to establish a network of smallholder piggeries which use locally-grown feed to produce high quality commercial grade pork products.

Pigs are a mainstay of traditional husbandry in parts of PNG, including the Southern Highlands, and sweet potato and cassava are grown in abundance. The project has the potential to increase the earnings of small-scale farmers and crop growers and provide employment opportunities in distribution, storage and marketing.

The PNG-grown pork will also provide a competitively priced, leaner alternative to popular imported lamb flaps.

The pilot's objectives in 2013/14 were to establish the best pig genetics for local conditions; create effective training routines and materials for local outreach farmers; and prove the commercial value of an innovative feeding regime based on crops grown by local smallholders. Typically, commercially produced pigs are fed imported commercial diets.

The trail concluded successfully in 2014. The outcomes were a commercially viable local feed approach, a workable training programme and a refined growth model.

With the first batches of pigs raised and sold, there are plans to expand the piggery in 2015 with Oil Search's assistance, including building processing facilities onsite. A number of local farmers will be engaged to test the outreach model. Funding through a microfinance bank will help them build and operate mini pig-farms in their villages and HPK will train them in how to build a piggery, prepare the feed and raise healthy animals.

The farmers will buy young pigs from HPK, rear them to a commercially marketable weight then sell them back for processing. Pilot data shows that, for rearing 20 pigs in a year, a return of K4,800 (approx. US$2,000) for labour and housing is possible. HPK will sell the resulting pork products to wholesale and retail markets and reinvest the revenues.

A more efficient approach to feed crop yielding will also be trialled in 2015. If the pilot is successful, the HPK model could create sustainable income for high numbers of subsistence-level root crop farmers in the Southern Highlands, many of whom are women.