The Province with a population of approximately 500,000 is divided into nine districts Bulolo, Finschhafen, Huon, Kabwum, Lae, Markham, Menyamya, Nawaeb, Tewae/Siassi and; 230 distinct languages are spoken.
The province shares common boarders with Madang, Eastern Highlands, Gulf, West New Britain, Central and Oro Provinces. Lae is the center of PNG and is the provincial capital and the second largest city in the country. It is situated at the mouth of Markham River and the start of the Highlands Highway. The Markham river valley runs through the center of the province. The province is characterized by rough terrain to gentle slopes and flat plains. The main mountain chain includes the Huon Peninsula, Sarawaged with the highest point (at 4,425 m above sea level) the Rowlinson range to the north and the Owen Stanley Range to the South.
The major river system includes the Markham and the Waria rivers, which are two of the ten fastest flowing rivers in the country. The other notable rivers that have potential for hydroelectric scheme development are the Watut, Mongi, Masaweng, Paiawo, Maiama and Franscisco rivers. The climate is and extremely humid as a result of high mountains and deep valleys. More than 5,080 mm of rainfall is recorded annually in Lae. The provincial map above shows main centres of the 9 major districts in the Morobe Province.
The total landmass including the sea area of the province is 34,650.6 square kilometres which is the largest in PNG. The total land area is 33,931.6 square kilometres and the maritime area is 719 square kilometres. The province can be grouped into three main geographic areas, namely the coastal, island and mountain areas; and finally, the river and valley areas. The coastline of the province extends to approximately 402km from the south and southeast to the north and northeast. Lae is the main industrial centre in the country, and is vibrant with many different commercial activities. It serves as the distribution port for all Highlands provinces including Madang for imported merchandise. A new Tahiyo Cement Factory was opened in 1993 and two fish canneries were opened since 1996 to add to the many industries, which have flourished over the years in Lae providing many employment opportunities to the people. The current development of Malahang Industrial Centre will open up more opportunities for new businesses to start. Other industries operating in Morobe Province include mining, especially in the Wau and Mumeng areas, timber, fishing, and tourism. Gold and timber are Morobe’s leading exports.
Whilst Morobe boasts a great economic potential, it is still very much underdeveloped for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is dominated by the exploitation of primary products, such as agriculture, forestry, and mining and to a lesser extent fishing. Agriculture remains the dominant sector. There are three types of agriculture production namely, traditional subsistence, smaller holder cash crop generating and large-scale plantations. (Adopted from Morobe Provincial Population Action Plan 2005-2010 p5) About 452.3 hectares of land throughout the province is under cultivation by subsistence (farming) agriculture; coffee is the largest cash crop followed by cocoa, cardamom, coconut, rice and chillies. Livestock development is dominant in the rich Markham Valley with some development in the Wau and Bulolo District. Forty percent (40%) of the country’s beef supply and the country’s largest chicken production are in Morobe. There is also large-scale crocodile farming in the province. Morobe is experiencing an increase in hotel development and tourism industries.
- Bulolo District
- Finschaffen District
- Huon District
- Kabwum District
- Lae District
- Markham District
- Menyamya District
- Nawae District
- Tewai-Siassi District
Provincial Capital is: Lae (second biggest city in PNG)