Photo courtesy of New Guinea Highlands Coffee
The agriculture sector in the country has been experiencing an upswing in production activities, as noted by the Minister for Agriculture, Aiye Tambua. Notably, coffee, coconut, and oil palm have been the major commodities that have seen a significant increase in their production.
According to the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), the country has exported 840,000 bags of coffee, which is an improvement from the previous year's slightly passed 750,000 bags. Moreover, foreign exchange earnings have exceeded K800 million.
The Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK) has reported that there is a growing trend in the export of white copra and copra mill. Although the annual coconut production is estimated at 85,000 metric tonnes, the processed copra stands at 26,000 metric tonnes, white copra at 30,000 metric tonnes, and copra meal is compensated by an increase of 10,000 metric tonnes in white copra. Furthermore, the total export revenue has increased to K206 million in 2022 from K171 million in 2021.
The Oil Palm Industry Corporation (OPIC) has reported a steady increase in the production and export of crude palm oil since the enactment of the Oil Palm Industry Corporation Act (1992). The fresh fruit bunch produced by smallholders has increased from 769,831 metric tonnes in 2019-2021 to 819,356 metric tonnes in 2022. The income for farmers grew from K405 million in 2020 to K760 million in 2021, and almost a billion (K964 million) in 2022.
While the production of the three main commodities has increased, there are still some issues that need to be addressed to meet the target production. Mr Tambua noted that the coffee berry borer is still affecting coffee production in the country, and the government is working to address this issue. Additionally, Kokonas Indastri Koporesen has been challenged to produce seeds and seedlings as the demand for local farmers is increasing. The expansion of oil palm into new provinces has been commended, but the industry needs to assist smallholders in selling their fresh fruit bunches since there are no mills available.