After 8 years at Ok Tedi Mining and 16 years in agriculture, Allan Bird is an agribusiness expert running for the seat of his home district, the province of East Sepik. He is 39 and married with nine children.
Allan joined Ok Tedi (then owned by BHP) aged nineteen after starting a science degree, and was part of BHP's 'high potential national' scheme, rising to second in charge of OH&S before leaving to pursue an agricultural business which he had started while at Ok Tedi. He is still known as the 'Vanilla King', with agricultural interests extending beyond vanilla production to crocodile, cocoa, coconuts, piggeries and poultry. He is passionate about wealth creation in PNG, going from village to village teaching subsistence farmers how to grow, harvest and process vanilla for profit. His goal is to reverse the rural-urban drift, which is causing huge unemployment problems in PNG's cities.
Apart from his agricultural interests, Allan is a consultant, providing agribusiness advice to PNG Sustainable Development. He has been an adviser to the Office of the Chief Secretary of GoPNG and co-chaired the Wealth Creation Pillar in the PNG National Strategic Planning Taskforce in 2009, assisting in the development of the Papua New Guinea Vision 2050.
A participant in our Leadership Mapping research project, and the latest in our series of PNG election candidate interviews, Allan canvasses in this video some possible solutions to the corruption flourishing in PNG society. He has some startling data on public servant pay and the cost of living in modern-day PNG. It's worth viewing right to the end of this 7-minute interview — apart from his brutally honest insights into the corruption problem, Allan has some pithy observations about motives of the private sector in PNG.