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PM Marape urges SMEs to venture into agriculture

by PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has pointed Papua New Guinea small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to agriculture as a space that they can move into.

He said this when addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast at APEC Haus in Port Moresby on Friday (June 5th 2021) which also marked the end of SME Week.

PM Marape said agriculture could supply domestic needs as well as export to other countries.

He said PNG was the closest Pacific country to Asia, including Indonesia right next door, which had a population of 260 million.

PM Marape said the majority of Indonesians were Muslims who ate beef.

“I wonder why the grasslands of Sepik and Fly are doing nothing,” he said.

“Those are places where we can raise beef (cattle) and supply to the 260 million Muslims next door.”

PM Marape said the next 100 years would be the “Asian century” as the increasing population there needed more food, water and energy.

He said PNG could follow the track of New Zealand in becoming a specialist food producer to supply the population of Asia.

PM Marape pointed out the case of Fiji water, which was now sold around the world, and added PNG could do similar through organic food.

“Organic food supply to niche markets in Asia can be a forte, can be a specialist area, going into the future,” he said. 

“Government will look at those concepts and work with the SME Corporation, for those who want to be innovative in the space of SMEs, whether in export-based businesses or domestic supply.”



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Small and medium businesses (SMEs) have a significant role in economic growth, according to Prime Minister Hon. James Marape. When addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast on Friday (June 25, 2021) to commemorate the end of SME Week, he also praised local SMEs for hosting PNG SME Week at APEC Haus in Port Moresby from June 21 to 25. “Thank you (SMEs) for what you have been doing this week,” PM Marape said. “Many nations globally are built on SMEs.” He used the example of neighbouring Indonesia, which has over 50 million SMEs, which he described as the economy's "engine room." PM Marape also mentioned New Zealand, which he visited last year and described as a country around the same size as PNG but with an economy based on SMEs. “New Zealand is a country almost the same land size as ours,” he said. “Their economy is really dependent on SMEs that are based around agriculture, tourism and cottage industries. “This is a place that we could source inspiration from. “Based on those small-scale, SME-based industries, they have a US$200 billion economy that keeps them running.” PM Marape stated that New Zealand's economy is built on agriculture, cattle, dairy, and marine resources, rather than large-scale mining, oil, and gas operations. “I believe in the propensity of our country to expand to an economy that is beyond US$200 million sizes, if not in the next 10 years, easily in the next 20 years we could get there,” he said. “That is simply because of the resource density we have in our country.” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” PM Marape remarked as the country went through difficult times. “Those who will be in the mainstream are those who want to capture opportunities that are available for them,” he said. “I speak to our local SMEs: There are opportunities available.” PM Marape stated that individuals working in the SME sector should know that “our Government is pro-business, pro-SME”. “We want to help Papua New Guineans and those that are resident in Papua New Guinea to get going in business,” he said. “We embrace businesses of all types because we are cognizant of the fact that success of business allows the economy of a country to be strong.”   Reference: The Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (26 June 2021). “PM Marape highlights important role of SMEs”.

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