PNG Business News - October 10, 2022
Partnership to Increase Cocoa Production
Photo credit: Paga Hill For the country to produce more cocoa, there has to be more cooperation between the provincial administrations and the local cocoa farmers. The partnership is the only way to forward the work, according to Albert Nukuitu, chairman of the Papua New Guinea Cocoa Board. He stated that the PNG Cocoa Board is committed to such collaboration and that the management and board now have the responsibility of making the necessary arrangements. The popularity of cocoa in Mamose and the New Guinea Islands region is well recognised. In addition to the other Southern area provinces and the Highlands, Central Province is now focusing on cultivating cocoa; nevertheless, the lack of market and resource partnerships is hurting the farmers' dedication to the industry. A memorandum of understanding between provincial governments and their Department of Primary Industry (DPI) personnel, according to Mr. Nukuitu, is essential at this point in order to support the Cocoa Board. He said that because the Cocoa Board lacks the ability, this arrangement will enable its regional office staff to collaborate with each province government to support the nation's cocoa farmers. “We have people who can drive initiative like this but we need the support of different stakeholders in the industry to enhance the work to increase the output,” he said. The government's priority, according to Anthony Vigil, interim chief executive officer of the Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea, is to increase the economy by K200 million by 2030. According to him, only cocoa will produce 300 million tonnes of cocoa a year and contribute more to the national economy. “The challenge is on us the management and the board, and the government is working closely with the board to ensure we produce enough volume.” Mr. Vigil said that there are already existing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) for cocoa with provinces in the Southern area, including the Gulf, but they did not materialise due to the lack of resources required. The board urges farmers to start cocoa farms because it is prepared to help them, especially in Central Province's new development zones. Reference: Wohi, Lorraine. Post-Courier (03 October 2022). “Partnership To Increase Cocoa Production”.
PNG Business News - October 10, 2022
Philippines To Send Farming Team To PNG
A potential large-scale rice farming company in the Philippines will be sending a delegation to Papua New Guinea in November this year to evaluate the country’s potential for large-scale rice farming in Central Province. Richard Maru, the minister for international trade and investment, emphasised this as one of his accomplishment goals during a recent visit to the Philippines. They were asked by Minister Maru to travel to Papua New Guinea to consider starting a commercial rice farm. “PNG needs to identify up to 90,000 hectares of land to grow rice in order to produce the rice initially to feed our own population and to export the surplus back to the Philippines,” he said. “We will be working very closely with the Central Governor and the leaders from the Central Province to assist us in identifying land in Central Province to grow rice on a large scale. “It would also be a great opportunity for the landowners when we are talking about a K800 million per year rice import replacement opportunity.” Despite having a long-standing connection, PNG and the Philippines have not yet signed a trade agreement or an economic partnership agreement. The long-pending double tax treaty, the free trade agreement, and technical assistance from the Philippines to PNG for the development of Special Economic Zones and downstream processing support, particularly in commercial rice farming, were also agreed upon by the two nations. They also agreed to hold their first trade meeting. Mr. Maru stated that until more progress is made in the bilateral trade and investment relationship, trade discussions between the two nations are anticipated to be held every six months. Concerningly, while PNG does not offer an on-arrival visa, the Philippine government does for Papua New Guineans entering the Philippines. According to Mr. Maru, the PNG government should investigate the possibility of offering on-arrival visas to Filipino visitors to PNG in order to increase cross-border interactions. Following confirmation from the government of the Philippines, the first trade meeting is scheduled to take place during the first week of November. Reference: Post-Courier (3 October 2022). “Investor Keen On Rice Farming”.
PNG Business News - October 03, 2022
Upskilling fermentary-business owners to boost Papua New Guinea quality cocoa exports
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme in collaboration with the Cocoa Board rolled out eight capacity building workshops for 470 local cocoa processors on cocoa quality control measures. The Greater Sepik region of Papua New Guinea is leading area in cocoa production in the country, but quality has been a concern compared to other cocoa producing provinces. To address this quality issue, the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme in collaboration with the PNG Cocoa Board organised a series of capacity building trainings for small fermentary business owners in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. The weeklong workshops were intensive and conducted simultaneously over five weeks in August and September 2022 in eight different districts of East Sepik and Sandaun provinces namely Angoram, Yangoru-Saussia, Wewak, Maprik, Wosera-Gawi, Ambunti-Drekikier, Nuku, and Aitape-Lumi. A total of 470 participants including some model farmers were taken through Cocoa Act 1981, Cocoa Inspection Regulations, requirements for registration of cocoa fermentaries, PNG export standards, and different agencies involved in the cocoa industry. The cocoa business actors were also trained on proper cocoa drying and fermentation processes, including how to break cocoa pods, and quality management skills. Group discussions with field visits to model cocoa blocks and small fermentary set-ups and exporters’ processing facilities were part of these weeklong trainings. While opening the session in Wewak, the EU-STREIT Deputy Programme Coordinator Dr Pavel Burian said: “As a fermentary owner, you have crucial roles to play in the value chain to ensure quality beans are exported for an improved financial return for your business as well as for cocoa farmers to improve their livelihoods in a more sustainable way.” “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure quality beans that are exported for higher financial returns for processing as well as to benefit smallholder farmers with better incentive. After this training, you learn how to process your beans properly, but the beans from other fermentary owners who didn’t get this opportunity will be mixed with yours for export, so it is important to share this knowledge with others to maintain uniform quality for holistic benefit” explained the Programme’s Senior Agricultural Officer, Dr Rabi Rasaily, while closing the training held for Aitape cocoa businesspersons. Facilitating these set of trainings were three female and three national male experts from the Quality Section of the Cocoa Board Head Office in Kokopo, East New Britain Province. Mr Daryll Worimo, the PNG Cocoa Board Regional Manager for Sepik, also emphasised: “the aim of these trainings is to address the quality issues experienced at the farmers and fermentary owners’ levels. With these trainings, we found that many participants are very happy and understand the importance of quality.” For the participants, the opportunity has set them well to improve on their practices. “As fermentary owners I think we now know what to do because the training was presented in practical way and we understood well,” said Grace Klembesa a female beneficiary who attended the session in Aitape. Highlight of Cocoa for Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea, and namely the Greater Sepik region, has excellent agro-ecological potential to produce valuable agricultural economic crops, including cocoa, and to further downstream agri-businesses activities development. Cocoa production provides jobs and income for the rural population, which remains predominant throughout Papua New Guinea. In the main regions of production, around 30% of households produce cocoa, while representing 15% of the number of households at the national level. Around one million people’s livelihoods depend on cocoa. In East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, where the Programme is being implemented, cocoa is an important source of income for about 500,000 people. Cocoa in PNG is estimated to grow on 130,000 ha in coastal provinces, as a monoculture or intercropped with coconuts or other food crops. However, this potentiality mostly remained untapped or under-developed, mainly due to lack of sufficient investment, support and capacity, and insufficient infrastructures, leaving the Sepik region less equipped with resources to progress toward sustainable economic development. The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations joint Programme (FAO as the 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. The Programme 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-resistant transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - September 29, 2022
AGRICULTURE HAS HUGE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Photo credit: Oxford Business Group The creation of the new ministries by the current government for both major agricultural commodities, Coffee and Oil Palm is a huge step forward in achieving the agriculture sectors economic potential. For the past years the agricultural sector had not been fully utilized by consecutive governments as the focus had mostly been centered on the extractive industry and Mining & Petroleum sector. This important and vital sector is eventually and currently being recognized as an economic pillar to boost the state coffers. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape said the allocation and restructure of the four newly created ministries concentrating on Horticulture (Fresh produce), Coffee, Oil Palm, and Livestock to the agricultural sector is a complete paradigm shift to get agriculture moving again. The focus of the Marape Government on ‘Taking Back PNG’ is deeply rooted and aligned with the mechanisms and functions of the agricultural sector as most of the country’s population are situated in rural settings and largely depend on subsistence agriculture to sustain themselves. Coffee, Cocoa, Oil palm and Fresh produce have been a mainstay that this rural population rely on for income for so many years. As far as many Papua new Guineans can recall and relate, Agriculture has always been the foundation and backbone of the country and it can surely drive the economy forward. Although the agricultural does not match in monetary turnovers for the country, it is an economic foundation and is here to stay. In comparison over monetary benefits with other sectors, Agriculture had not been performing to expectation due to so many underlying issues concerned and faced with the value chain of agricultural commodities prompting a decline in agricultural activities over the years. The Prime Minister said it was no secret that agriculture had declined since independence in 1975, and the current allocation of the four agricultural ministries was to revive the sector for it to be a major income generator for PNG. PM Marape said this when explaining the concept and rationale for his allocation of four ministries to the agricultural sector. This direction by the Marape/Rosso Government to emphasize more on agriculture will boost agricultural activities in and around the country. Mostly the sector had not been given proper recognition for decades and had been lacking government intervention from past successive governments. Now with the current Government’s backing, the respective agricultural ministries and its industries are expected to flourish dramatically and are likely to bring more benefits. The new ministries will also empower provinces that currently do not have mining and petroleum resources. This will certainly build stronger local economic activities for future generations. “We want to see import replacement and more exports within the agriculture sector, which is why we have allocated four separate ministries to agriculture,” PM Marape said. The recognition of this agricultural industries will also ease and slowdown rural-urban drift. The number of people migrating from rural areas into towns and cities in search for better opportunities have risen in the past couple of years due to inequality in the distribution of wealth and lack of government services. Thus, the governments focus on agriculture will encourage many unemployed Papua New Guineans living in urban areas to go back to their home Provinces or villages and be self-reliant. As economic opportunities arise in rural areas from vibrant and innovative policy interventions within these newly created agricultural ministries, it will attract many to contribute meaningfully and be productive on their own customary land. Prime Minister Marape said over the last three years prior to the creation of the new agricultural ministries, his government has given millions of kina to support agriculture through price and freight subsidies and SME support. “We are now targeting specific commodities through the establishment of the four ministries. Over the next term of government, we will give specific production targets for Coffee, Oil Palm and all other major agricultural Commodities” he said. The government also plans to revive and rehabilitate once thriving agricultural hubs in the country such as Cattle farming in the Central Province and the Coffee plantations of the Highlands region that produced quality organic Coffee and grew the fledgling industry pre-independence in the 1960’s. Now that the agricultural sector has been categorized into four industries, there will be room for much improvement in economic activity within the agricultural sector as people will start contributing meaningfully to the economy.
PNG Business News - September 26, 2022
Empowering Rural Women and Youths in Papua New Guinea on Group Leadership & Agri-Business Management
Photo: EU-STREIT PNG addresses gender-based violence and its subsequent negative impact on inclusive participation and transformational change in seven remote villages in Sandaun Province A 5-day intensive training workshop on establishing and organising agri-business groups, with a focus on Group Leadership and Business Management skills, was recently organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under EU-STREIT PNG Programme, for 70 cluster group leaders inclusive of women and potential youth leaders from seven villages in West Aitape Local Level Government, Sandaun Province. The workshop also focused on raising awareness on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) among cocoa, vanilla and fisheries farming communities. The venue for the training was Marubian Village (Ulau 2), located along the tropical west coastline of Aitape. Lack of knowledge and skills in leadership, particularly among rural women and youth, prevents villagers from partaking equally in decision-making at the executive level of farmer groups. With this insight, the farmers were also trained on how to establish and manage their cooperatives in a gender-sensitive manner. The first sessions, focused on the importance of mainstreaming gender and youth perspectives and addressed issues of gender-based violence within the three targeted value chains. The sharing of household roles and responsibilities to allow for additional time to contribute positively in farming activities for quality and quantity production, the gender constraints in the value chain development as well as valuing everyone’s inputs by family members for appropriate reward and respect were some of the issues discussed. It was the first time that the villagers were learning about shared gender roles in contrast to some existing cultural norms. Through group discussions, participants came to realise how the sharing of household workload could improve their lives as well as their farming output. "Everything begins in the house. As long as we share responsibilities within the house, we can save time and be more productive on the farms," explained Ms Patu Shang, Programme's Gender and Youth Inclusion Specialist. The sessions, filled with dynamic interactions, group discussions and presentations, provided an opportunity for mothers and girls whose efforts and contribution have hitherto not been appreciated, to speak out. "This group gathering is a window for these mothers to say yes they can speak and not to remain silent and likewise for youths to see life in a positive way," said Mrs Angela Passingan, Chairlady of BAMA Womens' Group who organised the mothers in the village to collaborate with EU-STREIT PNG Programme for this learning opportunity. The women's group comprises mostly single mothers, including widows, and they invited female and male youths in the community to join them. This opportunity equally helped this group to build its organisational capacity. "I believe this training will help us in many ways. Once we can fix our homes in terms of sharing gender responsibilities, we can manage other aspects of our lives like farming cocoa and vanilla," added Mr Joseph Sarinu, Ward 29 Member. The sessions on farmer group leadership with a business approach helped boost women and youths' confidence to take up leadership roles. Some key contents covered include Benefits of Cooperative Ownership, Understanding Regulatory Compliances, Goals Setting & Action Planning, Roles of Leaders/Members in Cooperatives, and Understanding the Organisational Structure of Cooperatives. The importance of working in groups to take part in agribusiness in cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains was also shared and discussed. Involving women and youths in active dialogues is necessary in this regard. "This training has clarified my thoughts that my sister has a right to be consulted in decision-making and participation in our farmer group we want to run in our community," said a 25-year-old male youth Jason Kagum. The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations Joint Programme (FAO as the 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. The Programme 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-resilient transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - September 26, 2022
Industry Standards Crucial, Says Oil Palm Minister
Best industry practises and certification standards, according to OIL Palm Minister Francis Maneke, are crucial for both the agriculture sector and the oil palm business. Maneke said that it will make agriculture more sustainable and continue to boost the economy during a sector meeting on Monday in Port Moresby. He complimented the government for designating oil palm, coffee, and cattle as the ministerial responsibilities for those particular agricultural products. “For oil palm, it is a total revolution for this country – the standards, certifications in oil palm,” he said. “The product is certified under the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), so we must sustain the best practices with respect to the certification standards. “The certification of our products going out of the country must be an agenda from now onwards. “We must have standard technology in the way we do business in agriculture.” It is a top priority to revise the Oil Palm Industry Corporation Act (1992), and two bills are prepared to be introduced in Parliament. “In the oil palm Industry, we must reduce poverty level because there is so much land, yet our people are still poor,” Maneke said. “The industry is already 40 years old (but) there has never been any improvement in the poverty status of oil palm growers. “There is no regulation that defines properly the management of the industry. Reference: The National (15 September 2022). “Sustainability in agro sector vital”.
PNG Business News - September 13, 2022
Boosting agribusiness by opening access to markets for 16,000 plus Papua New Guinean
EU-STREIT PNG started work on two additional farm-to-market access roads in Sandaun and East Sepik provinces totalling 56 plus km, to serve over 16,000 villagers, including businesspersons, women and school children, with improved access to towns, health posts and schools. The International Labour Organization (ILO) under the EU Funded UN Joint STREIT EU-STREIT PNG has started major improvement work on two key Farm-to-Market Access Roads in Vanimo-Green District, Sandaun Province and Wosera-Gawi District, East Sepik Province. Connecting two Pasi and Krisa rural communities in Bewani-Wutung Onei LLG of Sandaun Province, this 25 km road will serve more than 3,000 rural population. Thirteen thousand plus villagers living in South Wosera and North Wosera LLGs, East Sepik Province, will also benefit from a road rehabilitation project started by ILO to improve the 31.6 KM Farm-to-Market Access Road connecting Patiko and Nuangawai rural communities, it includes 13,000 plus farming-dependant population who lives along this road. The roads rehabilitation and maintenance projects implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme will provide safe, reliable, and climate-resilient transport infrastructure to cocoa, vanilla and fishery-dependant farming communities in the Sepik region, facilitating agribusiness nourishment, people, goods and crops movements and better marketing for locally produced agri-food products. “These roads are important since they help the trade and open business opportunities, market access and also help who provide services such as trucking and Public Motor Vehicle (PMV) operators for movement of people and goods,” said Mr Wesley Weli, Director of National Authorising Officer Support Unit, Department of National Planning and Monitoring. Likewise, these farm-to-market access roads are also a relief to villagers, particularly women and mothers who carry heavy loads and walk with their children for hours to the main highway to catch a PMV to town to sell their produce and get medical treatment. “These roads are very important also in terms of enabling socioeconomic indicators, including health, education, and financial services. These roads also help local businesses and movement along the roads. These projects are a win for all fronts, for all people living around roads,” explained Mr Weli. “We mothers feel the pain of carrying heavy garden produce as well as our sick children and walk this road for hours to the junction. If we’re lucky, we catch a PMV to town. If not, we walk back to the village and do the same thing the next day,” said Maria Mali, a mother of 11 children and grandmother of 12 grandchildren, living along Pasi-Krisa road in Bewani-Wutung Onei LLG. Maria was part of about 500 villagers who celebrated the start of specific maintenance and Rehabilitation work on the Pasi Krisa road. She has been married for 45 years and shares the dilemma the women in the area face. She said there has been no proper maintenance on this road until the recent intervention by ILO under the European Union-funded STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea. The two roads rehabilitation and improvement projects will be completed in 12 months which include scarifying and reshaping of existing surface, spot re-gravelling, construction of reinforced concrete cement (RCC) box and pipe culverts, and gabion retaining wall as well as installation of crash barrier at different locations. The works also include erecting traffic signs and signages to increase visibility and ensure safety of passengers. Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of Patiko-Nuangawai access road’s rehabilitation work, the EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator, Dr Xuebing Sun said, “Road is the backbone of many rural infrastructure systems. Road provides assurance for the supply of the agricultural inputs, facilitates the delivery of the farm outputs to the markets, and assure your accesses to financing, health and education services. Road will also help you to strengthen competitiveness of your products in the market. Sincere thanks to the EU for its generous funding support, I am really happy that after one year, this road can reach you. I want to request for your active support, contribution, and participation to this road project as much as possible. Sustainability and long-term use of the road through effective maintenance rely on you; you are the ones who are going to use and own this road.” Calling on the community to support the road project, ILO’s Chief Infrastructure Specialist, Mr Shailendra Kumar Jha, said, “the contractor is willing to complete the whole roads with quality before the 12 months period, that will generate thousands of paid decent jobs for local community and youths, however community support and collaborations are must. The Road project will also transfer the skills to local youths for future use and employability.” This Pasi-Krisa (25 km) & Patiko-Nuangawai (30.6 km) are two out of 15 selected rural roads in the Sepik totalling 264 km in length for rehabilitation/specific maintenance by ILO to support the market access initiative implemented by the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG to boost agribusiness activities and cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural sector. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, markets, services, inputs and social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. Being implemented in close cooperation with the National and provincial government institutions, research entities, civil society organisations, and private sector enterprises, the Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-resilient transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - September 12, 2022
PNG FISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR NFA POLICY REFORM
The president & chairman of Papua New Guinea's Fishing Industry Association (FIA), Sylvester Barth Pokajam is calling on the new Government to reform its National Fisheries Authority policy document. This policy document provides the legal framework and guides the regulatory regime of the fisheries sector. The policy should focus more on key areas on building basic and appropriate infrastructure such as fishing ports, having affordable and readily accessible utilities such as water, electricity and communication is vital for the growth of the industry and to foster interest amongst many individual groupings and businesses both within and outside to look at fisheries investment opportunities in PNG. Mr. Pokajam said, “Attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has stalled since 2013 due to inconsistent and sudden shift in Government policy after Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s regime”. “In fact, between 1998 and 2013, six new tuna-processing plants were built in PNG, but investment has been stalled since then”. The FIA also refutes the claim by so called external advisors and experts that attracting investors is not the main problem. “It is not just investment but finding the right investment. Investors must be enticed or attracted to invest where there is a win-win situation for both parties”. Said Pokajam Mr. Pokajam emphasized on two factors that determine potential fishing operators to invest, which are; Fishing operators invest in processing to gain license concession. This is a conventional global practice that rewards frontrunners for investing substantially in developing the local industry and the sector. We need processors to invest not fishing operators to invest. This is a situation where a processor is able to put in place additional shifts in its processing operation as a result of the expansionary government policy where the negative impacts are reduced. The FIA strongly supports the Marape Government in taking back PNG as it strives to fully involve and support the participation and inclusion of PNG in the fishing and processing business. Pokajam said "The FIA is happy that the Prime Minister continues to support the PNG aspiration to make PNG the tuna capital of the world, a feat that is not impossible under his leadership". "This is a quest we planned for after we were able to negotiate a Tariff free access to the EU." added Mr. Pokajam. During Pokajam's tenure as the former Managing Director of the National Fisheries Authority from 2004 to 2014 he had seen the rush of serious proposals for on-shore investments. A lot of major investors such as Frabelle PNG Ltd, International Food Corporation Ltd, Nambawan Seafood Corporation Ltd, and Majestic Seafood Ltd were established in Lae, in addition to RD in Madang and South Seas Tuna Corporation Ltd/FCF in Wewak. Two other investors who had already acquired land in Lae, signed project agreement with the State in 2013, but did not continue due to sudden change in Government Policy. One of the biggest investors was Majestic sea food Ltd which is partly owned by the two world players in the tuna processing industry, Thai Union Group of Thailand and Century Pacific Food Inc of Philippines, Thai being the biggest tuna processor in the world and Century the biggest in the Philippines. Majestic Sea Food Ltd and our current tuna industry players have played a huge role in helping to boost our export to EU markets. Pokajam explained that the Cost to operate a processing facility in PNG that competes in the world continues to be a big challenge. An ideal set up should be an entity doing fishing and processing at the same time ensuring supply of tuna for processing and the flexibility to market its products so that it can reduce the impact of high cost. FIA was also able to secure a reputable Marine Steward Council (MSC certification scheme) ECO label for PNG. "There is a lot more work to do. We shall work closely with the Prime Minister and his Government by providing accurate industry market information to guide the Government to enable us to achieve our aspiration". Said Pokajam. In relation, another issue with the current Government policy is the higher prices it charges for the country’s vessel-day scheme (VDS), which governs its tuna-fishing sector. From hard facts, other Pacific nations are charging USD 6,000 to USD 7,000 (PGK21,700 – PGK25,300) for daily access for their domestic fleets, but in PNG, the cost is USD 10,500 (PGK38,000) daily. Investors that would like to invest in PNG look for competitive cost of license and the VDS is a scheme PNG can use to attract both local investor and foreign direct investors. In late February 2022, the number of tuna purse-seiners (Large fishing vessels) flagged to Papua New Guinea had dropped significantly as a result of the higher prices. More PNG flagged vessels are reflagging to other Pacific countries, especially Nauru and FSM (Federated States of Micronesia). Since 2019, a total of 28 vessels have moved to reflag to Federated States of Micronesia and 9 reflagged to Nauru. These two countries offered discounted vessel day scheme fees and facilitated access for vessels to fish in the Eastern High Seas Pocket. Only a dozen purse-seiners remain flagged to PNG. The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is very much aware of this dilemma and have stated that the country needed “conducive policies in place to attract vessels to carry the PNG flag and fish in the country's fishing zones.” In addition, the FIA also shares the same sentiments as expressed by “The Farmers and Settlers Association Inc.,” that the Government should not get involved directly in the industries whether it be fisheries, forestry and downstream processing of precious metals which is something that should be discouraged at the outset. Past experiences have shown the many failed ventures that the Government had been involved in and therefore the Government should concentrate more in supporting domestic PNG private sector entities and foreign direct Investors through an expansionary fiscal policy.
Paul Oeka - September 08, 2022
MINISTER AIMS TO REVAMP OIL PALM
Oil Palm growers, investors and stakeholders need to take notice and work closely with the government to revamp the once thriving industry. The newly appointed minister for Oil Palm Hon. Francis Maneke realizes and sees the creation of the Oil Palm industry as a way forward and a huge advance in the industry that has been subjected to indifference for the past 40 to 50 years. Maneke who is also the MP for the Nakanai electorate in the West New Britain Province said " It was unfortunate that over the years the cash crop had been allowed to deteriorate through lack of attention, research and development, grower incentives, downstream processing and other value adding innovations". "The government's vision to take back PNG is in line with the the timely creation of the the Oil Palm Ministry. Prime Minister James Marape and his PANGU led government have taken a bold stance by showing the initiative to create this ministry along with three other newly created ministries under the Marape - Rosso government, " he said. "With the Prime Minister's vision in taking back PNG and leading onwards to a better economic independence, the creation of the Oil Palm Ministry is a revival of the industry which will add more value towards the economy," Maneke explained. The Minister is also very vocal about the sector and has pushed for legislations to evaluate the oil palm act so it can maximize the growers interest. To take advantage of this positive outlook the new Oil Palm Ministry wil work hard and closely with the industry to restore the lucrative and ongoing market for the benefit of the economy amidst this hardships that are currently faced during this hard times for the sake of Papua New Guinea Oil Palm growers. Manake is adamant that the initiative to establish the ministry is an added bonus for the growers and the country as a whole. The Oil Palm industry is sustainable in terms of its revenue and can really support the economy if there is much assistance by the government. Furthermore he said that we must start managing our land so that we can be able to to develope it in line with the organizations that are managing PNG's climate change and global warming impacts. Now that the Oil Palm industry has been given prominence the Minister is sure that production will increase as well as the revenue generated. This will then have a positive effect in boosting the economy. The Oil Palm industry is to valuable to remain neglected due to its economic value and importance for the future benefit of Papua New Guinea.
PNG Business News - September 06, 2022
Partnering with agri-enterprises to support cocoa business in Papua New Guinea in sustainable approach
EU-STREIT PNG collaborates with registered enterprises (nurseries) to sustainably supply quality cocoa seedlings in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under EU-STREIT PNG Programme, in its mission to increase the production of high-quality cocoa that will improve the agribusiness of rural communities in the Sepik, signed agreements with over 30 registered nurseries and now these enterprises are distributing (CPB) pest-tolerant seedlings to the potential cocoa producers in the Sepik region. The newly boarded partners have been already equipped with nursery set-ups by the Programme that meet PNG Cocoa Board standards. FAO also purchases and covers transportation cost of the supplied (CPB) pest-tolerant seedlings to target cocoa blocks. These partnerships provide opportunity for the nurseries to further nourish in PNG agri-businesses environment, being empowered to engage, provide and meet local demands for cocoa seedlings sustainably. “We’re engaging farmer groups as service providers to deliver seedlings to their members including youths and women. The FAO under the Programme will purchase these seedlings at the rate of between K3 and K4 per seedling. Transport cost for distribution to farmers who live far from the nursery sites will be paid as well,” explained National Cocoa Production Officer Mr Michael Lames. “Payment will be made upon satisfactory completion of deliveries that will be followed with field verification where seedlings are actually planted into the ground. The money paid into the groups’ respective bank accounts is to support their operation as a business for the benefit of their members,” added Mr Odrick Urum, the FAO-STREIT Cocoa Production Officer. Another benefit under this collaboration is the capacity building of group leaders to learn and adopt recommended practices for running agribusinesses. “It is an exciting opportunity for us to learn some new things like how to operate as a service provider which requires quality delivery on a set period or time,” said Mr Wilfred Mombiang who represents a registered farmers group of Saure Village, in Wewak District, that are supported under the Programme. The Programme has already built the capacity of nursery owners as well as the producers in efficient cocoa cloning, budding and block management and now the Programme take a new step to connect two critical nodes along cocoa value chain by supporting and facilitating the distribution of high-quality inputs from nurseries to cocoa block owners. All these initiatives are part of the EU-STREIT Programme broader workplan to strengthen all cocoa value chain actors. Highlight of Cocoa for Papua New Guinea The Papua New Guinea, and namely the Greater Sepik region, has excellent agro-ecological potentials to produce valuable agricultural economic crops, including cocoa, and to further downstream agri-businesses activities development. Cocoa production provides jobs and income for the rural population, which remains predominant throughout Papua New Guinea. In the main regions of production, around 30% of households produce cocoa, while representing 15% of the number of households at the national level. Around one million people’s livelihoods depend on cocoa. Cocoa in PNG is estimated to grow on 130,000 ha in coastal provinces, as a monoculture or intercropped with coconuts or other food crops. However, this potentiality mostly remained untapped or under-developed, mainly due to lack of sufficient investment, support and capacity, and insufficient infrastructures, leaving the Sepik region less equipped with resources to progress toward sustainable economic development. The EU-STREIT PNG, as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. Being implemented in close cooperation with the National and provincial government institutions, research entities, civil society organizations, and private sector enterprises, the Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - September 05, 2022
K7 Million In PNG Coffee Export Orders From UK
Small and medium-sized businesses have received export orders totaling more than K7 million (US$2 million) as a result of an ongoing commercial collaboration between the British and PNG governments. Keith Scott, the British High Commissioner to PNG, made this statement in response to Prime Minister James Marape's appeal for investors to consider the agricultural industry. He stated that he wants to advance direct business support that benefits the economy, jobs, and rural regions of Papua New Guinea. According to Mr. Scott, there is a lot happening in the agricultural sector, as evidenced by the fact that coffee and New Britain Palm Oil's biggest export markets are Liverpool and the United Kingdom. “That’s essentially what we are looking to expand and promote but we’re looking very much at the technical level assistance that feeds directly down to PNG producers,” Mr. Scott said. “We did some work last year with Commonwealth and Standards Network helping PNG establish internationally recognised standards and again that will help facilitate trade. So we’re looking to help PNG and facilitate trade to the UK, Commonwealth, and beyond and hopefully meet a lot of the objectives that the Prime Minister set out. “We’re looking for areas where the UK has specific expertise that can meet the needs of PNG. “Forestry is a good example we have a market project on sustainable forestry which we are setting up in the next couple of weeks. Which is to do a study to help PNG Forest Authority look at how we commit better use of all the trees, that’s the sort of technical expertise we want to give the PNG government a number of options and that’s the data that the PNG government can use and decide how to set policies.” Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (2 September 2022). “K7 Million In PNG Coffee Export Orders From UK”.
PNG Business News - August 25, 2022
Youth Day message for 1,700 plus youths to become innovative and take part in agribusiness
EU-STREIT PNG joins hands with rural youth groups in Papua New Guinea to celebrate the International Youth Day with a message for young population to become proactive and take part in agri-food value chain businesses. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme in collaboration with rural youths and students in the Greater Sepik region marked the International Youth Day 2022 (IYD) with a message for all to become innovative and take part in all nodes along the agri-food value chains, including areas supported under the Programme. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the EU-STREIT Programme organised two events this year in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, bringing together 1,781 youths in total. These youths were briefed, sensitised, and made aware through engaging interactions, including motivational speeches, cocoa competitions, student debates, contemporary group dances, drama role plays, march pass and collective chanting, in a bid to promote this year’s theme of IYD: ‘Intergenerational solidarity, creating a world for all ages”. IYD is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international, national, and local communities, while celebrating their potential as partners in today’s global society. Explaining this year’s theme, Ms Patu Shang, the FAO International Gender and Youth Inclusion Specialist, on behalf of the Programme Coordinator, called on the elders and parents as well as authorities to provide an enabling environment for youths to excel and take over. “It means mainstreaming young people’s perspectives and we have to come together as one from all ages. Therefore in everything we do, we must sit together and include youths in solidarity so they can tell us their perspectives.” Ms Shang also challenged the youths particularly those from rural areas to become innovative and take part in agribusiness. “Don’t just sit back and observe because the world will pass you by.” She added: “EU-STREIT PNG is supporting a holistic approach to develop cocoa, vanilla and fisheries activities so every young person can find his/her place in any node along the agri-food value chains and with the advantage of technology they can develop a particular value chain either as a farmer, or input supplier, or take part in processing and marketing.” These overarching and inspirational messages where shared in the two celebrations held in Yangoru-Saussia District of East Sepik Province, on Thursday 4 August and in Vanimo, Sandaun Province, on Wednesday 17 August. The youth were also urged to participate and become an integral part of the European Union funded rural agriculture development programme, as well as to appreciate and subsequently take up “Agriculture as a Profession”, thereby curbing rural youth exodus and striving towards Zero Hunger by 2030 through the development of agri-food value chains. The commemoration in Vanimo started with a march pass in solidarity with youths and students from Don Bosco Technical Secondary and Vanimo Secondary, chanting and singing a popular line “ooh when the youths go marching in …”. In addition, present to give their speeches were the Deputy Provincial Administration for Cooperate Services and Director for Community Development, representing the Sandaun Provincial Administrator, as well as the Vanimo Royal PNG Constabulary Commander. After the official speeches, the youths went over to Don Bosco Technical Secondary to promote agriculture as a professional career with a cocoa bud grafting competition. A debate on the topic “is agriculture only for the poor and elderly” was organised as well between students from the two schools. The celebrations in Yangoru-Saussia District of East Sepik Province was held in Baimuru Village and organised jointly with the “Baimuru Heights Youths in Agri-business Group” whose common interest lies in cocoa value chain activities. The day started with a march pass by youths carrying placards and chanting and soliciting community support in their quest to make a change in the community and the country through agribusiness. It was an exciting and fun day for the youths in Baimuru Village with the support of the parents and elders to execute the day’s activities like choral music, dances and three role-plays showcasing challenges that rural farmers face like low prices for cocoa and vanilla beans and awareness on child labour. A successful female and male youth (community Campions) who have taken on agriculture as a profession also shared their success stories. The rest of the youthful population were encouraged to see the opportunities that exist agribusiness. To encorage the youths to their agriculture work, cocoa and vanilla cultivation and processing tools/materials and items like secateurs, pruning saws, wheelbarrows, cooler box/Esky, strainer, thick cloth/blanket and Digital thermometers were presented to three youth groups that supported and participated in the celebrations. Engaging Rural Youths as well “I’m really happy to learn about the International Youth Day. Thank you EU-STREIT PNG for bringing these celebrations here. This kind of events are (typically) celebrated in urban areas and it’s the first of its kind in our village,” said a young female adult Melisa Jorry. The event was also an opportunity to promote the One-UN approach by working with partners of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) like MiBank and Women’s Micro Bank (Mama Bank), to impart basics of financial literacy knowledge to the youth, including the importance of saving and using banking services. 100 attendees (78 women and 31 men created personal bank accounts on the spot. The EU-STREIT PNG through its Facebook page did a live streaming of the celebrations in East Sepik and Sandaun Province. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - August 24, 2022
PM Marape targets growth in agriculture with four ministries given to sector
Photo: PM Marape and his Cabinet outside Government House on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says the allocation of four ministries to the agriculture sector is a complete paradigm shift to get agriculture moving again. The Marape Government’s focus on ‘Taking Back PNG’ is deeply embedded in the agriculture sector – which is the backbone of Papua New Guinea to drive the country and economy. The Prime Minister said it was no secret that agriculture had declined since Independence in 1975, and allocation of the four ministries was to rekindle the sector, for it to be a major income-generator for PNG. PM Marape said this when explaining the rationale for his allocating four ministries to the agriculture sector. “Albert Einstein once said, ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’, which is exactly what has happened to the PNG agriculture sector since 1975,” he said. Goroka MP Hon. Aiye Tambua (Pangu Pati) is the Agriculture Minister responsible for administration of the department and tree crops and horticulture (fresh produce). The Department of Agriculture and Livestock has been beset with ongoing controversies and management issues over the years; Nakanai MP Hon. Francis Maneke (Pangu) is Minister for Oil Palm, PNG’s biggest and most-valuable agriculture crop, which brings in over K1 billion a year. Minister Maneke is from Nakanai, West New Britain, one of the biggest oil palm districts in PNG and has been a strong advocate for the industry; South Fly MP Hon. Seki Agisa (Pangu) is Minister for Livestock, an industry which thrived pre-Independence, but has since been reduced to a skeleton of its former self. Western, Minister Agisa’s home province, has huge tracts of unused land which can be used for development of livestock; and Anglimp-South Wahgi MP Hon. Joe Kuli (United Resources Party) is Minister for Coffee, another crop which has seen better days, but no longer produces the same volume it once used to. The Wahgi Valley, Minister Kuli’s home, once housed some of the biggest coffee plantations in PNG which grew the fledgling industry in the 1960s. One of his major tasks will be to revive the legendary Wahgi Mek plantations of the valley. “We want to see import replacement and more exports within the agriculture sector, which is we have allocated four separate ministries to agriculture,” PM Marape said. “Hon. Aiye Tambua brings in freshness, vigor and energy to this key sector that we want to ramp up for it to be a substantial, if not the major sustainable contributor to our economy, not just now but forever into the future. “His home of Goroka and Eastern Highlands has some of the best agriculture land in the country which must be utilised. “Copra, cocoa, vanilla and other spices, and rice will be the key focuses of Minister Tambua as Agriculture Minister. “I have already said that I want East Sepik to become the vanilla capital of the world and an international hub for the cocoa trade. “This is not an impossibility, with Papua New Guinea – mainly through East Sepik – being one of the top vanilla producers in the world with the World Bank predicting that PNG will soon become No. 2 after Madagascar. “East Sepik is also the top producer of cocoa in PNG with the country’s cocoa being rated very highly in the world for quality. “The Government has plains to develop the massive Sepik Plains into the biggest agriculture hub of the country.” PM Marape said the oil palm industry laws and regulations were outdated and needed to be changed to see more benefits to PNG. “Oil palm is the largest agriculture commodity in PNG, contributing about 40 per cent – K1.2 billion annually – of PNG’s export revenue in the agriculture sector,” he said. “However, the irony of it all is that the large multi-national companies who dominate the industry, operate in an unregulated industry. “The Oil Palm Industry Corporation (OPIC) only provides extension services to smallholder growers, whereas, the big players control the industry – that is the concern. “My Government is committed to reviewing the OPIC Act to bring about long-overdue changes within the billion-kina industry. “Oil palm is a billion-kina agriculture industry, and under Minister Maneke, will be given specific targets – especially in increasing production. “We have so much land that is lying around idle and Minister Maneke will be tasked to use this to increase production, as well as help the existing industry to grow.” PM Marape said PNG’s livestock industry must to revived urgently for import replacement as well as to be an exporter. “Once upon a time, the Highlands Highway from Mt Hagen to Lae, was filled with cattle on the roadsides,” he recalled. “Papua New Guinea had a thriving cattle industry, started in the colonial days, by experienced Australian cattlemen. “Starting at Corn Farm outside Mt Hagen, to Six-Mile outside Lae, you could find thousands of cattle. “Sadly, since Independence in 1975, PNG’s cattle numbers have dropped to an all-time low. “Settlers moved in on State land used for cattle and abattoirs. “The Livestock Development Corporation (LDC), following a direction from my Government, is moving to take back all State land occupied by settlers and use to rebuild PNG’s cattle industry. “The State Land Reclamation Project was launched by former Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, John Simon, at Corn Farm at the border of Western Highlands and Jiwaka last December. “Minister Agisa will ensure that this is continued as well as ensure that areas like his own province of Western, which has so much grassland, can be used to raise cattle with Indonesia and Australia just next door. “He will be given the necessary Budget support to unleash the full potential of the livestock industry in our country. “The irony is that for a country with so much grassland for raising cattle and other livestock, we continue to import meat, something that must stop.” PM Marape said coffee was another industry that needed to be revived to bring in more export revenue, and Minister Kuli knew this, being from the Wahgi Valley of Jiwaka. “As you drive along the great Wahgi Valley of Jiwaka, one of the agriculture hubs of PNG, you see a heart-breaking sight,” he said. “Miles and miles of once-flourishing coffee plantations are now covered by bush or taken over by settlers. “These are the sad remains of Wahgi Mek Plantations, which from 1973 to 1999, generated millions of kina in export revenue for the country. “It goes without saying that PNG’s declining coffee production has been largely due to the collapse of the 14 Wahgi Mek plantations. “It is the same sad situation not only in the Wahgi Valley, but right throughout PNG. “The once-great PNG coffee industry has completely lost its focus since 1975. “Minister Kuli’s focus will be coffee, coffee, coffee. “I want to drink coffee made in Goroka, Mt Hagen, Lae and other parts of the country. “I want to see more coffee grown for export to the lucrative markets of the world.” PM Marape said over the last three years, his Government has given million of kina support to agriculture, through price and freight subsidies and SME support. “We are now targeting specific commodities through establishment of the four agriculture ministries,” he said. “Over the next two weeks, we will give specific production targets for coffee, oil palm and our major agriculture commodities.” Article courtesy of PM James Marape News Page
PNG Business News - August 19, 2022
Official: Govt needs to see how agriculture contributes to GDP
An official claims that it's important to gauge how much agriculture contributes to the country's economic development, particularly its Gross Domestic Product. The Department of Agriculture and Livestock's acting secretary, Dr. Nelson Simbiken, said: “We want to see in a coordinated manner capital investment programmes that have been invested in the agriculture sector. “And we want to see government expenditure (in the) agriculture sector being delivered on government policies.” At a meeting of the department audit committee in Port Moresby, he stated that the medium-term development strategy required agriculture to perform. He claimed that the government invested money in the department and desired to see a profit. Therefore, the audit committee should guarantee openness in the use of public monies. The Department of Finance organized the conference to discuss measures to strengthen and enhance systems and procedures. Simbiken advised conducting an audit of the department to make sure funds allotted for labor programs were properly used. The meeting, which was presided over by Sam Penias, deputy secretary of the Department of Finance, was held to make sure funds were used properly and in accordance with procedures. Earlier, Simbiken urged commodities boards to spend cash to support government programs in their initiatives. Simbiken said that the audit meeting was held by the Department of Finance to assist them. He claimed that the agency, which had budget codes, oversaw a number of boards. Reference: The National (18 August 2022). “Govt needs to see agriculture’s contribution to GDP: Official”.
PNG Business News - August 19, 2022
STREIT Innovation Fund to promote development of local agripreneurship and innovative solutions in Papua New Guinea
Photo: The EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme established the “STREIT Innovation Fund” to support local MSMEs and entrepreneurs and stimulate investments in cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, has launched an Innovation Fund to stimulate investments in Cocoa, Vanilla and Fisheries businesses as well as to promote development of local companies and entrepreneurs in the Greater Sepik Region of Papua New Guinea. The Fund supports PNG registered companies, licensed business people and cooperatives, associations and value chain actors in launching, expanding and introducing new agri-businesses and innovative solutions in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. Financed by the European Union, the STREIT Innovation Fund provides up to a maximum of PGK 1,000,000 of non-cash support to successful applicants, as follows: SMEs and large enterprises: up to PGK 1,000,000 Micro Enterprises: up to PGK 350,000 Other Value Chain Actors: up to PGK 175,000 Other Beneficiaries: up to PGK 35,000 The support includes training, services, technologies, and technical equipment. During recent information awareness sessions held in the two provinces, Dr Pavel Burian, Deputy Programme Coordinator of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, explained that the support ranges between PGK 35,000 and PGK 1 million and “is in-kind in the form of service, training, equipment and technology, and not in the form of any financial contribution, such as loan or grant.” He added: “This support will be limited to 70% of the intervention costs where the applicant must mobilise at least 30% of the total amount of the required inputs, in cash or in-kind.” Focus on Empowering Women and Youths Deputy Coordinator underscored: “For proposals targeting women and youth, a higher percentage of support like up to 80% will be given. This to ensure and foster their participation and benefit in line with the Programme’s approach.” Burian also explained that the support to individual interventions would be discussed individually depending on the nature and number of challenges to be addressed, like the number of beneficiaries to be reached and the benefits and contributions that must be in line with the objectives, outcomes and outputs of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. A total of 120 interested MSMEs and agripreneurs with high representation from women attended the two information awareness sessions. Many entrepreneurs in the awareness meetings expressed their interest in this opportunity that is available to women and men agripreneurs and agri-food value chain actors in the Greater Sepik region. “I’m excited about this initiative which is the first of its kind for the farmers and agribusinesses. At the community level, this support will add value in many ways; one is to transform our farming practice to operate like a business in terms of sustainability and long-term development,” said Pastor Wilfred Mombiam, who leads 500 plus cocoa farmers in Wewak District of East Sepik under Wilmo Agri Farming. During the information sessions, the participants were informed that an Assessment and Review Committee (ARC) would be formed to review proposals from selected eligible stakeholders/beneficiaries. The Committee comprise representatives from the EU Delegation, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, provincial authorities, the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, and invited technical officers from relevant government agencies in the two provinces. The first call for proposal is out as of 5 August and will end on 5 September 2022, whilst the second call will follow on 1 December 2022. Interested persons or entrepreneurs can apply to this email address: PG-STREIT-INNOVATION@FAO.ORG To know the eligibility criteria as well as how to apply and get access to the relevant documents, including the application form, click here: https://bit.ly/3JmkHkS The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.