Western Highlands Province covers the Jimi, Wahgi, Baiyer, Lai, Kaugel and Nebilyer Valleys. It also includes the Hagen Range, the Kubor Range and the mountains of the Sepik-Wahgi Divide which run through the entire province.
The provincial member declared elected in 2007 was Mr. Tom Olga of the National Alliance Party. The sitting member between 2002 and 2007 was one-time Prime Minister, Mr. Paias Wingti.
Western Highlands Province has some of the most productive smallholder agriculture and coffee plantations in PNG. People in the Wahgi, Baiyer and Nebilyer Valleys earn high incomes from the sale of coffee and food. However, the more remote lower Jimi Valley and Mera area earn much lower incomes. Wage employment is also available in the township of Mt Hagen.
The Highlands Highway runs through the Wahgi and Nebilyer Valleys. Other smaller road networks travel through the Tambul Nebilyer, Baiyer Mul and Jimi Districts. However, people in the far north, in the lower Jimi Valley and far south near Mera are isolated from service centres.
Provincial headquarters: Mt. Hagen
Number of districts: 7 - Anglimp South Wahgi, Baiyer Mul , Dei, Hagen, Jimi, North Wahgi, Tambul Nebilyer
Number of LLGs: 15 Number of wards: 479
Area and population density
Area (km²) 9097
Occupied area (km²) 4375
Population per km² 48.4
Population per km² of occupied area 100.6
Split to create Jiwaka ProvinceIn July 2009, Parliament passed legislation to create two new provinces by 2012. One of these was to be created by removing Jimi District, North Waghi District, and the South Waghi part of Anglimp-South Waghi District from the Western Highlands Province to form the new Jiwaka Province. "Jiwaka" is a portanteau word combining the first two letters each of Jimi, Waghi and Kambia.
Jiwaka Province officially came into being on 17 May 2012.
EconomyThe Western Highlands economy is primarily based on coffee. Coffee is grown on plantations and small-holder blocks. They are picked, dried and processed for export. In addition, tea is also a major crop grown and processed, but in plantations by Wr Carpenters & Company Limited for local consumption and export. Apart from these, vegetables are grown for the domestic market, and sold mainly to markets Lae and Port Moresby.
Districts and LLGs
Each province in Papua New Guinea has one or more districts, and each district has one or more Local Level Government (LLG) areas. For census purposes, the LLG areas are subdivided into wards and those into census units.
DistrictDistrict CapitalLLG Name
- Muglamp Rural
- Kotna Rural
Mt. Hagen DistrictMt. Hagen
- Mt. Hagen Rural
- Mt. Hagen Urban
- Baiyer Rural
- Mul Rural
- Lumusa Rural
- Mt. Giluwe Rural
- Nebilyer Rural