Agriculture Cost is Expensive, Says Minister
by PNG Business News - July 15, 2021
Photo Credit: Post Courier
The cost of doing agriculture in the country is far too expensive, said Minister for Agriculture and Livestock John Simon.
He said there are challenges in the sector that are far more expensive.
“As soon as I became the minister, I did research and found out that the cost of doing agriculture in Papua New Guinea is high.
“For instance, coffee at that time was paying K2-K3 so we wanted to lift the price up to K5 through the price support and interventions.
“Infrastructure development is far beyond comparison, farmers are stationed in the rural areas and that makes it more expensive, thus, it is better the price is increased so that the farmers get the fair price and boost production,” Simon said.
Meanwhile, the Farmers and Settlers Association has urged the appropriate authorities to evaluate the issue in light of the legal and policy consequences for the country's industry.
The announcement comes after most, if not all, government departments and organizations raised non-tax fees and levies.
As a result of the chain reaction, many firms would pass the cost on to the people of PNG.
Agriculture, food processing, exporting, and rural businesses are all affected, according to Wilson Thompson, President of the Farmers and Settlers Association. PNG is dealing with COVID-19 issues and a struggling economy, and agriculture, food processing, exporting, and rural businesses are all affected.
“We know that the government agencies will not review their own decisions, but our concern is the collective impact on the producers and the micro and SME business and the consumers,” he said.
Increases in wharfage fees and fuel prices will lower the price that growers or farmers receive for coffee, cocoa, coconut, rubber, and tea, while customers will pay higher prices for sugar, rice, wheat, and fresh foods and vegetables that rely on fertilizers and fuel, among other things.
“We request the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) to deliberate independently on the issues,” added Thomson.
Tom, Patrick. Post-Courier (13 July 2021). “Cost Of Agriculture In PNG Too Expensive, Says Simon”.
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 - 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.
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PNG Business News - August 12, 2022
Going Green: FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme provides green-powered facility to local agricultural authorities to effectively service rural farmers
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea establishes a renewable energy-powered facility to support local government authorities in East Sepik Province, in delivering effective services to rural farmers and entrepreneurs. With generous support of the European Union, the FAO-led EU STREIT Programme officially opened a new 3 cluster office building on 10 August 2022, to host the Programme along with the East Sepik provincial divisions of Agriculture and Livestock, Cocoa Board and the National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority. The new-look office building is powered by 189 solar panels, which significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the collective dependence on fossil fuel. The solar panels supply the building with 90 KW of energy, relieving the resident agencies and authorities from relying on fossil-generated electricity for their needs, including lighting, ICT, water pumping, and temperature control. This zero-carbon-emission facility has the capacity to accommodate around 90 experts, technicians and extension service officers. Equipped with 120 batteries, the building can support staff’s operation for 36 hours in case of experiencing high cloud cover. The building, currently co-resided by the Programme and provincial agricultural bodies, will be transferred over to the East Sepik Provincial Administration at the end of the Programme and will continue to provide a sustainable base for sustainable support to agriculture-related services in the Province. Officiating the opening ceremony, His Excellency Ambassador Jernej Videtič, Head of the European Union Delegation to PNG, in his address, said: “I am happy to be here and to see that things are moving in the right direction to bring sustainable benefits to the people of East Sepik” Ambassador Videtič further highlighted that “with resources from the citizens of Europe to fund the EU-STREIT Programme in providing training, tools and support, the quantity and quality of cocoa, vanilla and fisheries products will increase. The objective is also to protect these quality products in international markets under the EU-STREIT introduced initiative of Geographical Indication.” The East Sepik Acting Deputy Provincial Administrator, Mr James Baloiloi, in his speech expressed his appreciation to the EU for funding the EU-STREIT Programme and the interventions that the Programme is doing in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. “The STREIT Programme has gone ahead to introduce a culture of agribusiness that now enables the people of this Province and the people of Sandaun Province to have cash income that can sustain their livelihoods.” Mr Baloiloi added, “this infrastructure and building supports us and facilitates the service delivery to our people in this Province as well as Sandaun Province.” Thanking the EU for its generous funding support, Dr Xuebing Sun, the EU-STREIT Programme Coordinator, said: “the Programme has generated substantial impacts at beneficiary, local institutions and enabling business environment levels. This would not be possible with good partnership, increased ownerships and leaderships of the governments and implementing partners.” “This co-residing and close co-operation among UN agencies and their national partners in this integrated space reflect the partnership approach taken by the Programme to sustainably develop agri-enterprise activities in the region,” added Dr Xuebing Sun, adding “the new climate-friendly facility, which is fully powered by solar energy, also provides a space to welcome, advise and serve the farmers, including interested women and youth, who play very important roles along agri-food value chains”. “This kind of ‘green investment’ enables a shift to a more green economy for local institutions and infrastructure to meet cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains stakeholders” advised Anthony Bennett, the FAO Lead Technical Officer of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. United Nations’ implementing partners supporting the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG present in the office include the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The EU-STREIT PNG is being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the Country and the Pacific region. It focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
CPAPNG annual meet to discuss global changes
Certified Practicing Accountants of Papua New Guinea will be hosting their 23rd annual conference with about 400 participants nationwide expected to attend the two day conference organized by CPA PNG in Lae Morobe Province from August 18 to19, 2022 CPAPNG was established in 1974 and has come a long way with a lot of achievements along the way. Over the years its membership grew from mere numbers to just below 2000 which includes 40% locals and 60% non-citizens. . The CPA PNG conference is one of CPAs three significant annual events on their calendar with this year's conference theme; Is PNG prepared for the recession?" The conference will see certain key leaders in executive management roles from both the public and private sector delivering presentations in line with the conference theme. CPA PNG's Executive Director Mr. Yuwak Tau said the theme of the conference was selected because there was a decline in the global economy and the general so when that eventuates small economies tend to be affected. He added that they have basically selected the theme that was current and appropriate so that members would find relevance during the course of the conference. “The meeting is to create intellectual and interactive discussions with seasoned business leaders to present and share their ideas and experiences to find probable outcomes within their business environment and industries in times of economic uncertainty”. Some of the topics to be presented by consultants are current significant issues such as crypto currency, transport pricing, bit coin block chain technology and stress management. This were some topics that people have heard about but have not really ventured into. Mr. Tau added that it would be quite hard to measure the benefits immediately but the participants will be able to look at insights shared during the conference that would be appropriate in the areas of employment, accounting, finance, auditing and others. The conference will create an environment where participants can also share information so That they can take points to apply in their work place and industries. In relation the Kumul petroleum Holdings had also presented a cheque of K50, 000 to support the coming event at their head office. The cheque was presented by KPHL's executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Luke Liria and was received by CPA PNG Chairman Richard Kuna. Mr. Liria said KPHL has appreciated the effort put in by CPA PNG to ensure that its members in State owned enterprises and the private sector were given appropriate level of training and as part of KPHL's corporate social responsibility and commitment they hope that their support will continue to help the organization facilitate and make sure the accounting practices is of international standards. CPA PNG's Chairman, Richard Kuna acknowledged KPHL for their support and stated that he was looking forward to seeing KPHL being a big part of the upcoming conference.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
BSP: Small to Medium Enterprises Loans reaches 60% rate.
Bank South Pacific's Financial Group Ltd Chief executive officer Mr. Robin Fleming has recently announced that the bank has granted more than K200 million as loans to small to medium enterprises under its credit scheme facility that the then Marape government had released to the bank to support Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) and local businesses during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Fleming said about 1523 customer loans have been approved, that is about 60% of loan approval rates since 2019. Prior to this announcement BSP and the Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI) had agreed to increase the maximum loan under the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) credit enhancement facility to K5 million. The previous limit was K3 million when the Government first released K100 million as security to the bank under its K200 million SME allocation for BSP to rollout the loan facility last year. Fleming stated that even though they have exhausted and rolled out the bulk of the governments relief funds for SME's they will still be running the SME loan program under its credit facility scheme “At this stage, BSP has not received the funding planned for this year but that is not preventing BSP from giving loans under the facility”. “There remains significant capacity for BSP to continue to assess, approve and funds loans under the facility”. “The agreement with the Government did provide for momentum in the SME facility to be maintained while allowing for the Government budget and funding process to be adhered to”. As part of the government SME relief funding, Commercial Banks were allocated K200 million with BSP Financial Group receiving K100 million, NDB K80 million and another K20 million was allocated to the department of Commerce and Industry BSP could not comment on how the National Development Bank (NDB) is dealing with the K80 million it received, but the intent, when discussions were initiated, was that BSP would be lending to more mature SMEs and NDB to startup ventures. In addition to enabling SMEs to access lower cost of funds through the facility with BSP, the bank has also made it a responsibility to ensure that Government funding is preserved by not approving loans that have a higher risk of default.