From tobacco to agriculture: BAT PNG's first investment in the agriculture sector aims to enhance food security in PNG
by PNG Business News - April 20, 2023
British American Tobacco PNG (BAT PNG) and Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) have joined hands to aid rural bulb onion farmers in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The partnership aims to provide financial assistance to the farmers and increase the quality and quantity of their produce. As a part of this initiative, BAT PNG will contribute K1 million for the construction of 50 solar dryers for bulb onions in different locations in PNG, with each dryer costing around K20,000, totaling over K1 million for two years.
This partnership marks BAT PNG's first investment in the agriculture sector. "The government’s goal of reclaiming PNG through agriculture highlights the crucial role that agriculture plays in the country’s food security and economic stability. We are pleased to partner with FPDA who are experienced and credible partners in this space," said BAT PNG General Manager, Vamid Maksimenko.
The FPDA will manage the funds and oversee the construction and placement of the solar dryers in the bulb onion farming cooperatives across PNG. The project will benefit about 3000 to 5000 onion farming households, helping them reduce post-harvest losses related to drying and storage issues.
FPDA CEO Mark Worinu emphasized the importance of improving the quality of local bulb onions and the challenges involved in the curing process. He added that the solar dryer partnership with the University of Technology has already improved the curing and post-harvest management of bulb onions. The partnership with BAT PNG will provide additional support to the program, and FPDA is ready to implement the project in the next two years.
This initiative is a significant step towards promoting sustainable agriculture and improving the livelihoods of the farmers in PNG. As the renowned author and environmentalist, Wendell Berry said, "The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life."
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.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas
Photo: PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas Prior to the Korean-Pacific Islands Leaders (Kor-Pic) Meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Marape joined other PIC Leaders for a breakfast caucus Chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and current Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown, to discuss the agenda and a common position on shared development issues. Prime Minister Marape said climate variation, being the perennial issue including sourcing appropriate development assistance from the Korean Government was high on the agenda. He said the encouragement during the caucus was for all PIC Leaders to discuss their developmental challenges and put forward their ideas on how Korean Development assistance could complement the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. Following this caucus, Prime Minister Marape, met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Their discussions were centered around progress of the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), the recently concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid. On the BST, Prime Minister Marape mentioned that it was work in progress and required the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions. He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia. For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNGDF's capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty. He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its bilateral partners. “In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said. “The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.” For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG. Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood. On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people. In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
ADB Helps Launch Vocational Education Project in PNG
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) today launched a cofinanced project to improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program. PNG's Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso delivered a keynote address at the launch event at Port Moresby Technical College. PNG’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye, ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill, and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann all spoke at the event. The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands. “We hope this project will become a model for all vocational education and skills training in TVET colleges in the country,” said Mr. Rosso. “The beneficiaries of this project—young, skilled workers, including women and men—represent PNG’s future, and through this project, the future of vocational education in PNG looks bright.” This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high. “We will work with our partners to help advance reforms in the vocational education and skills training space in PNG,” said Mr.Hill. “These sought-after skills in priority sectors will help grow PNG’s economy.” The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, religious, or private institutions, including technical and business colleges offering postsecondary courses and vocational training. “The Australian government is pleased to be supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve its reform goals in technical and vocational education and training to increase the number and quality of skilled workers,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “My vision for the TVET for Employment Project is that it will perform as an innovation and technology business incubator across PNG,” said Mr. Polye. “The project is the embodiment of a new approach—building a culture of quality education and innovation in a renewed and revitalized TVET sector.” The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG Forges an Innovation-fueled Partnership with South Korea in Digital Transformation
Papua New Guinea was amongst seven other Pacific Island countries to sign a partnership statement of intent with the Republic of Korea to further cooperation and partnership in digital transformation. Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, who also was appointed co- chair of the just concluded Korea -Pacific Islands Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, South Korea, signed the statement together with the meeting chairman Korean Minister for Science and ICT Dr Lee Jong-Ho. The others who signed the partnership intent are Tonga, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands and Kiribati. Australia and the World Bank also attended the meeting as supporting partners. The Statement of Intent states; The partnership recognize digitalization has transformed not only daily lives but also shapes innovation in all sectors including politics, economy, society, culture and environment. Recognize and note that digital technology offers great potential to address various social economic challenges that come with rapid transformation of society. Agree on continued partnership in digital transformation inclusive of sustainable development will be the key to future prosperity of the people of Korea and the pacific. Agree on sharing digital vision of policies will pave way for strong partnership to digital co-prosperity. Mr Masiu expressed deep satisfaction that Korea , the global leading innovation country, has agreed to partner with Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea in digital transformation that will greatly enhance communication in a vast area like the Pacific and more so, strengthen supporting technology to better access to health, education and business. He told the conference that Papua New Guinea has begun the digital transformation with Parliament passing the Digital Government Act 2022 and relevant policies, and welcomed the partnership with the Republic of Korea, which he says, will go a long way in progressing the digital transformation agenda for PNG and the region. Mr Masiu had bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, further seeking a stronger country to country relations in digital transformation and support to the National Broadcasting Corporation proposing a partnership between the NBC and the Korean Broadcasting Services. The Minister has formally invited the Korean Minister for Science and ICT to visit Papua New Guinea for the Pacific ICT meeting in August 2023 or to accompany the South Korean President who has been invited by Prime Minister James Marape to visit PNG. Mr Marape was in Seoul also this week for the Korea- Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting. Minister Dr Lee Jong-Ho acknowledges the leadership of Papua New Guinea in digital transformation and reaffirmed its support to PNG and the other Pacific Island countries.