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Tammur: Empower Programmes that Can Boost Economic Independence
by PNG Business News - January 12, 2021
In order to have a better society, start with the lives of each family first. To do this, empower them with programmes that can boost their economic independence.
Thus, said Kokopo MP Emil Tammur, who added that coconut and cocoa development programmes would grow the local economy so that families can earn. He added that the priority of the Kokopo development authority (DDA) board was to support the agricultural development programmes in the vicinity.
“Agriculture and farming is where the bulk of the population back in the ward levels are heavily involved in, therefore, our focus is to support the programmes that can help change our people’s livelihoods,” he said.
Tammur noted that it was the cocoa nursery farmers who implemented the agriculture programmes which the board had planned for. The relationship between these two sectors began in 2015 but stopped last year when the pandemic happened. The funds for the farmers were then redirected to the covid pandemic.
“We took the funds from these programmes to support our family members from the six wards in the Raluana LLG who were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic early last year, that is why most of the payments were delayed,” he said.
Tammur expressed his gratitude to Joan Magaga, officer-in-charge of the Kokopo rural development office, and her team for giving support to farmers. “We wouldn’t have come this far if not for the partnerships between all stakeholders,” he said.
PNG Business News - February 10, 2021
Marape: Commodity Cost Support Programme Will Support Coffee Market Costs
In a recent visit to Jiwaka, Prime Minister James Marape said that the commodity cost support programme will support the current coffee market costs.Following the initial K50mil allocated last November, Marape said that the programme will receive K200 million each year. Through the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), the government has already allotted K10 million. Marape said, “This funding will support the current market price to be fixed at K6 per kg for Arabica coffee, K5.50 for Robusta coffee and K2 for Cherry coffee.Meanwhile, Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon said the CIC is going to work with five registered coffee dealers in Jiwaka who pay the price of cherry at K2 per kg and coffee at K6 per kg. CIC acting chief executive officer Charles Dambui expressed his gratitude to the Government for the price support. “In the past, price support was executed at the free onboard price (green bean price) where only exporters benefitted,” he said. “We are now changing the approach.”He added that the implementation phase was very important in the success of the programme and in looking after its sustainability.
PNG Business News - February 04, 2021
Coffee Needs to be Marketed Better to International Consumers
During the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (Phama Plus) and the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), it is emphasized that marketing needs more attention in the exportation of coffee to the international market.While Rachael McCarthy of the New Zealand High Commission is happy to support the PNG coffee farmers, Joshua Kaile of the Australia department of foreign affairs said that they recognise the significance of agriculture in the coffee industry. CIC general manager Steven Tumae looked at the need for more exposure. “The MoU is a partnership agreement between Phama and ourselves (CIC),” he said. “It’s basically to do with Phama Plus helping us with the marketing of coffee overseas. We’ve been putting a lot of money into the coffee industry but there has not been enough help. We are hoping that Phama can train people in the industry. We’ve also asked them to help set up quality control grading labs in certain areas throughout the country.”Pharma Plus gives targeted assistance for Pacific Island countries to work on their regulatory aspects linked with primary and value-added products. This involves accessing products into new markets.
PNG Business News - January 29, 2021
Extension Services Must be put in Place, Says Agriculture Minister
To support local farmers to encourage them to take part in cash cropping, extension services in agriculture into rural areas must take place.This was according to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) Minister John Simon who said that the country needs 400 agriculture extension officers.“Many farmers are trying their best to sustain their farms and to keep them going but they are faced with mounting challenges from pests to field management, harvesting and treatment,” he said. “When these farmers struggle alone without expert advice, they will give up and move on to something else. This affects production that we have over the years with cocoa and coffee as well as others.”Simon said that this was part of boosting the economy. He added that he had already encouraged Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and Cocoa Board to invest more in extension service work. “Go out to farmers in the rural areas and establish why they have abandoned coffee and cocoa plantations so that you can see the real problems and solve them,” Simon said, saying that the Board needs to be more effective.“Get more extension officers out to districts and local level government areas where the farmers are and help them so that more is produced to supply the markets overseas.”Simon said that in the last two decades, work for the extension officers gradually diminished.
PNG Business News - July 22, 2021
Oil Search Considering Merging with Santos
Santos, an Australian oil firm, announced its plan to combine with Oil Search Limited. Santos proposed a non-binding indicative merger last month with the goal of making the two companies the regional energy champions. The proposed merged entity has a market capitalization of A$22 billion (K56 billion), putting it among the top 20 ASX-listed companies and the top 20 global oil and gas companies. This means, among other things, that the merger will have a diverse portfolio of high-quality, long-life assets spanning Australia and Papua New Guinea, a solid balance sheet with ample cash to support expansion choices, and an investment-grade credit rating. The merger plan, if approved, would be conducted through a Scheme of Arrangement in which Oil Search shareholders would receive 0.589 new Santos shares for each Oil Search share held, according to Santos in a market disclosure to the Australian Stock Exchange. Following the scheme's acceptance, Oil Search shareholders would control 37% of the combined company, while Santos shareholders would own 63%. Based on Santos' closing price on June 24, 2021, the ownership ratio suggested a transaction price of A$4.25 (10.92) per Oil Search share. This was a 12.3% premium to the Oil Search closing price of A$3.78 (K9.72) on June 24, 2021, and a 9.8% premium to the Mubadala block trade selling price of A$3865. (K9.92). Kevin Gallagher, managing director and chief executive officer of Santos, said the merger will bring more alignment to PNG, allowing for the development of important projects such as Papua LNG, as well as the creation of new employment and support for the local economy. Santos, according to Gallagher, has proposed a true merger in which ownership of the combined firm is based on proportionate contribution and value. “The strategic rationale for a merger is clear and offers superior value to Oil Search shareholders rather than continuing on a standalone basis. “Santos continues to believe that the Merger Proposal represents an extremely attractive opportunity to deliver compelling value accretion to both Santos and Oil Search shareholders.” Oil Search stated in its ASX market update that it is open to receiving and engaging with any proposal that is in the best interests of its shareholders. While the company's board of directors agrees with Santos that combining the two firms makes strategic sense, the conditions must be fair to the company's shareholders, which the terms proposed by Santos are not. Despite Santos shareholders holding 70% more shares than Oil Search shareholders, Oil Search maintains that the proposed conditions provide just a 6.8% premium based on Friday's closing share prices for Oil Search and Santos. According to the firm, no such proposal has been made at this time. Reference: Post-Courier (21 July 2021). "Oil Search Open To Merger with Santos".
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Study Says Sweet Potato Growers Have Received Significant Insights into Customers Buying Habits
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), sweet potato (kaukau) growers have received significant insight into customer buying habits, which is assisting them in identifying new market possibilities. The recent market analysis, which was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, revealed that an increasing number of consumers in Port Moresby prefer to buy fresh produce from supermarkets, citing convenience and safety as reasons. While this trend may result in fewer consumers at conventional farmer markets, PNG and Australian experts believe it may open up new marketplaces for rural people. “Farmers are looking for stable markets where they can receive more consistent prices for better-quality produce,” said Professor Philip Brown from Central Queensland University (CQU), who is leading the research project. “The research shows that consumer behaviour is likely to support an expansion in the supermarket sector in large urban centres and this is positive news for the farmers. This could allow commercial focused farmers to secure more stable market access.” The study of 353 customers was conducted as part of ACIAR-funded sweet potato research sponsored by CQU and the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), which aims to improve sweet potato value chains by increasing the quality of harvested roots. Sweet potato quality and production are improving, resulting in increasing supplies to retailers eager to provide better fresh produce. “The project, with support from the Fresh Produce Development Agency and NARI, is helping farmers to build their business skills and connect with emerging supermarket opportunities,” said Professor Brown. Kirt Hainzer, a CQU researcher who collaborated on the survey alongside NARI researchers, said it was the first study to look at customer behaviour and see what role stores may play in the development of PNG's commercial sweet potato sector. “The research sought to better understand and compare how consumers buy staples from open markets and supermarkets and to explore the preferences for purchasing staple foods as supermarkets increase the availability of convenience staples like rice,” said Hainzer. “Although expanding formal sales represents a huge step forward in developing a commercial sweet potato industry, continued research on consumer preferences and the market for fresh produce will help better understand trends in staple food purchasing and what market opportunities exist for growers.” With over a hundred kinds of sweet potato in the nation, NARI economist Raywin Ovah said the study sought to find out which of these customers preferred. “Not all the varieties are preferred from a consumer point of view. There are only a few that consumers want to be based on the taste or health properties and that is what we want to also find out. Farmers can be provided with that information, so they produce those varieties that the market wants.” One of five initiatives under the Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program is a project to increase commercial sweet potato production and commercialization in the PNG highlands. The ACIAR program, which is funded by Australia in collaboration with the government of Papua New Guinea, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural men and women through private sector-led development, increased agricultural productivity and quality, and the development of individual and institutional capacity. Reference: Loop (20 July 2021). “Study looks into sweet potato industry”.
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Garry: MRA Evaluating K50 Billion Worth of Investments
According to managing director Jerry Garry, the Mineral Resources Authority is evaluating more than K50 billion in investments in the country. Wafi-Golpu, Frieda River, and Woodlark are among them. “We are also looking at the Central Lime and Cement,” he said. “If that project comes on-stream, it will be one of the first industrial mines ever built in the country.” Garry was speaking at a Port Moresby consultation session on the Mine and Works (Safety and Health) Bill 2021. PNG, he added, was home to some of the world's largest mines. “We have grown from strength to strength,” he said. “If you compare the Bank of PNG statistics, the mining sector alone, in terms of production, has exported over K17 billion in 2020 and 2019. “So it’s a huge industry that we are trying to regulate and manage.” Garry expressed gratitude to the industry for making safety a primary priority. “They have been taking health and safety at the workplaces very seriously,” he said. “We must not only consider (the workers) and the environment but also people living around the (areas) we operate in. “And if we are using any hazards, we must also take responsibility.” The newest mining methods in Wafi-Golpu, known as block cave mining, are one of the new things to expect, according to Garry. “New mining hazards will come with this new mining method,” he said. Reference: The National (20 July 2021). “Authority assessing investments worth K50bil”.