Agriculture

Agriculture

PNG Business News - October 13, 2021

EU Sets Aside $300,000 to revive agriculture sector

With approximately US$300,000 in funding, technical help, and mentorship support, the European Union (EU) is promoting rural entrepreneurship, investment, and trade programs. It aims to revive the agricultural sector by partnering with private sector innovators such as Agritech, Fintech, supply chain financing, mobile money providers, and other businesses to improve access to finance, knowledge, information, and markets for agriculture micro, small, and medium enterprises. Programme manager of the BPNG SME accelerator Dominic Sikakau said: “The fund will most likely address and develop the demand side of financial access and will contribute to poverty reduction through sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas, through the development of value chains of three commodities – cocoa, vanilla and fisheries in that region.” Shortlisted candidates would be asked to provide at least 30% of the overall project cost, which includes technical resources, personnel, and operations. In addition, they will participate in a three-day bootcamp, pitching support, business support building, and pitching coaching. Marco Arena, EU’s innovative financing specialist said: “The EU believes SMEs are key enterprises to the sustainable development of PNG. “With technical assistance, companies can compete for resources that they will be able to use and to grow to expand their businesses and create jobs and opportunities for low-income areas,” Arena said.   Reference: The National (11 October 2021). “EU allocates US$300,000 to revive agriculture sector”. 

Agriculture

PNG Business News - October 13, 2021

PM Marape Donates K1.5 Million To Menyamya's Coffee Development

PM Marape Gives K1.5 Million For Coffee Development in Menyamya . Photo, PNG Government media Hon. James Marape, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, has set aside K1.5 million for coffee development in rural Menyamya, Morobe, which produces some of the best coffee in the country. During his one-day visit to Menyamya Station last week, he revealed this to hundreds of people. PM Marape was accompanied by members of the ruling Pangu Pati, including Education Minister Hon. Jimmy Uguro, Morobe Governor Hon. Ginson Saonu, and Menyamya MP Hon. Benjamin Philip. He stated that K1.5 million would go into a coffee depot and K500,000 would go toward coffee price support managed by local churches. “I want the Menyamya District Administration to set up a good coffee-buying depot here for K1 million so farmers don’t need to carry heavy bags on their shoulders to find markets in Bulolo and Lae,” PM Marape said. “I want coffee to be bought here at good prices, which farmers can collect, and then return to their gardens “I want the churches to get the K500,000 and buy coffee at good prices. “Our Government has put in place a price support programme to support coffee, cocoa, copra, vanilla and other agriculture produce. “Coffee buyers who are buying here, and at Marawaka (Eastern Highlands) for K1.50 per kg, should now be paying K6 per kg. “I want the Menyamya District Administration to partner with the churches in delivering this programme. “I am engaging the churches so they can involve young people and get them back to their coffee gardens. “The churches will then buy coffee at a good price.” PM Marape recently stated at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City that PNG is "one huge garden." “Our job as Government is to help you get your produce to markets,” he said. “If five million Papua New Guineans go to agriculture, and produce one bag of coffee, cocoa or copra, you are contributing K1.5 billion extra on top of our current National Budget of K12 billion.” PM Marape stated the Pangu Pati had envisioned a PNG where everyone had money when the country gained independence in 1975, but that this had fallen by the wayside. “We are now picking up and putting PNG back on the right road to economic independence, where everyone will have money in their pockets,” he said. “When my Government realised that the price of coffee, cocoa and copra was very low, and deterring farmers, we decided to introduce price support and buying points at the farm gate.”   Reference: Papua New Guinea Today (10 October 2021). “PM Marape Gives K1.5 Million For Coffee Development in Menyamya”. 

Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 30, 2021

Madang Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone to be Redeveloped

Madang Province's Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone will be redeveloped to become a regional fish processing centre. The National Fisheries Authority and the Treasury Department are collaborating on the project's development and financing plan. Ango Wangatau, head of the National Fisheries Authority, said the regional processing hub will bring together other Pacific Island governments to achieve a critical mass of tuna processing and export from the Pacific. PNG will inevitably emerge as the leading country as the hosting hub. According to him, the sector expects to gain more than 30,000 new jobs as a result of the PMIZ's launch, with income-producing over K3 to K4 billion. “Maximising export earnings is contingent on increasing value-adding production and the PMIZ redevelopment is the platform to achieve it. “The NFA Board is confident that this investment will lift PNGs value-adding capacity to another level in the commercialisation agenda.” The National Fisheries Board, according to Wangatau, is dedicated to participating in these changes and is convinced that the plan's road map will enable the fisheries sector to contribute to the objective of "Taking Back PNG and Leaving No Child Behind." He stated that he has been in discussions with super funds about partnering with NFA to invest in infrastructure and allowing private sector participation, which would help the industry to develop additional facilities and achieve the anticipated outcomes.   Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (27 August 2021). “Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone In Madang Back On The Table”. 

Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 30, 2021

Wangatau: Transformation Should Include Sector Wide Strategy

The absence of a sectorwide strategic plan detailing the sector's future roadmap has been a significant flaw in the transformation. Chairman of the National Fisheries Authority Ango Wangatau made this comment during the introduction of the NFA's 10-year strategic plan. While annual development programs were driven primarily by the parameters of annualised budget planning, he claimed the tuna processing industry operated primarily as a rent-seeking revenue stream from the Vessel Day Scheme and underperforming tuna processing plants that sought disproportionate rebate support from the state. True progress, he added, should be judged not by GDP but by the degree to which people are given the chance to participate in the betterment of their own lives. “The founding fathers recognised that we had abundant natural capital that can be converted into economic wealth and they warned that the process should not be done through careless irresponsible actions but through responsible sustainable means,” Wangatau said. “These founding principles of development are still very relevant today as they were more than 40 years ago. “Unfortunately, in our short history, we have moved away from these noble principles and followed a road map that is inconsistent with our own Melanesian beliefs of inclusivity and sustainability. “The result has been the unsustainable overexploitation of our natural resources, over-dependence on the export of raw materials and denying ourselves maximum export earnings on the value of exports, the marginalisation of our people, overdependence on rent-seeking modes of development and creation of a culture of dependency in our communities. “Clearly, this is not the development road map that our founding fathers envisioned. “Correcting it has therefore become necessary in all sectors of our economy. The fisheries sector is no exception.” Despite numerous changes, he added, there are still problems in translating reforms into tangible broad-based prosperity that includes ordinary Papua New Guineans and their significant contribution to progress. As a result, he explained, the strategic plan would focus on creating enabling infrastructure and improving the industry's operating environment. “This will involve investment in dedicated fisheries development and transportation infrastructure such as wharves, ports, jetties, slipways and onshore facilities to enhance the competitiveness of the industry.”   Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (27 August 2021). “Resources Important For Growth”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 30, 2021

Bakani: Agriculture and SME Policy Improvements Would Enhance Kina

Policy changes in agricultural and small-to-medium companies, according to Bank of PNG Governor Loi Bakani, would boost the PNG Kina versus other currencies. Bakani warned stakeholders at a CPA conference in Lae that the country has been missing out on a golden chance for years. He said that the value of the PNG Kina has fallen by 41% between 2012 and 2020. The kina value versus the US dollar was as high as 0.4 toea when the PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant began exporting. “When foreign exchange from PNGLNG stopped, there wasn’t sufficient forex coming in or from other mining or non-mineral sectors to sustain the appreciation of kina,” he said. Bakani said if policies were in place to encourage the agriculture and SME sectors, import substitution and export promotion, kina would have remained stable. “In the last two years, we’ve seen a big pick-up in the export of non-minerals, especially in agriculture, to generate a lot of forex.” He advised stakeholders to cut imports and increase exports. The Wafi-Golpu project, the Porgera mine, and the Papua LNG projects, according to Bakani, have the potential to reverse the trend and boost the Kina. “This is the idea to address this shortcoming with the PNG LNG project where the government gets early revenue, the foreign exchange comes to banks and helps exchange rates to appreciate.”   Reference: The National (25 August 2021). “Bakani: Policy reforms in agriculture, SME will strengthen Kina”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 09, 2021

PNG Forest Authority Publishes Plans and Asks Funds

The PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) has announced plans to move the industry ahead and has asked the government for greater funds to put them into action. They include the following: NATIONAL strategies for downstream processing of forest produce 2020-2024; PNGFA corporate plan for 2021-2030; SITUATION of the forestry sector; NATIONAL strategies for afforestation reforestation in PNG 2020-2024; REVISED PNG logging code of practice – second edition 2020. Walter Schnaubelt, the Minister of Forests, has asked the government to increase money for the authority to carry out the plan. He stated that the authority has faced challenges in bringing economic, social, and environmental benefits to resource owners during the past 21 years. “But (the authority) continues to be insufficiently funded,” he added. “For this plan to be effectively implemented, there needs to be a collaborative, holistic and inclusive approach and this must be support by sufficient and prudent management. “I seek sufficient funding support to be invested in the implementation of these plans and its supporting strategies to improve monitoring and control of the development and use of PNG forest.” PNGFA board chairman Keith Iduhu said companies had gained much from the sector. “Over the years, we have seen the lucrative returns logging companies gained,” he said. “Earlier this year, Schnaubelt warned companies and operators about their obligations in the various agreements. “Many companies and operations extract from our natural resources yet do not pay up their dues as stipulated by law.   Reference: Mauludu, Shirley. The National (4 August 2021). “Forest authority releases plans, requests funding”.

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Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 09, 2021

Over K1 Million in White Copra Revenue

More than K1 million has returned to East New Britain following the province's sixth shipment of edible white copra at the end of last month. Kevin Kasap, the NGI Supply Co-ordinator for Coconut Resource Limited (CRL), has confirmed this. He said the province has sent its sixth shipment to Dubai, consisting of 10 containers weighing 108 metric tonnes and contained 4500 bags of edible white copra –– the province's first of its type. “With the shipment, the estimation on the revenue, new money coming in is more than K1 million because for each container, we export we get more than K40,000 so we multiply that by the number of containers we are selling,” said Kasap. He said that CRL is ready and has signed a deal for another 20 containers to be shipped in 60 days, claiming that all districts are ramping up their pace and that the firm is getting more from the districts. The K400,000 Gazelle district price assistance scheme, which was announced last month, has been in effect since the beginning of this month, with district producers receiving K4 per kilogram, comparable to the Kokopo district. According to Kasap, the flow of white copra is increasing in the four districts, where they buy 2.5 metric tonnes each month. The Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK) extension team is continuing with training programs in the districts and throughout New Guinea. According to him, the revenue is returned to the producers because CRL is simply facilitating the shipping and whatever money is collected is returned to the farmers via the price paid out by KIK as a corporate social obligation to the growers. Farmers have been encouraged to follow the correct method for producing edible white copra, he added, since CRL conducts quality inspections before picking up the goods from the farmers. “By the end of the year, we should be producing almost 1000 metric tonnes, that is if all the districts come in including the NGI provinces of Bougainville, New Ireland and West New Britain,” he said. The coordinating office is in Kokopo, and training is still taking on in the NGI provinces, with all containers being sent to Kokopo once they start buying. According to Kasap, it will be massive, and they are looking forward to growing resources and buy property to establish industries in the future. He claims the province is currently producing 240 metric tonnes and will increase to 400 metric tonnes by the end of the year.   Reference: Lima, Grace. Post-Courier (4 August 2021). “White Copra Brings In Over K1 Million”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - August 02, 2021

‘Industry Loses K88 Million Due to Drop in Production.'

According to the Coffee Industry Corporation Ltd, a decrease in coffee production of more than 200,000 bags yearly has resulted in a loss of K88 million to coffee growers (CICL). Jerry Kapka, the board chairman, stated that the people were "losing out" and "not getting what is anticipated." “I want to bring the industry to the management and work together to deliver to the industry stakeholders,” he said. Many things, according to Kapka, need to be examined, reformed, and implemented in order to assist coffee producers. “I think they want to see some changes,” he said. “The board cannot do it all alone. Let us connect the industry with our management team and move forward with better plans for the industry.” He stated that raising the amount would not be an issue. “But the company and board directors should review what they had been doing, why people were not responding and move forward from there,” he said. On July 9, Kapka was elected chairman of the board of directors during a special general meeting. On the board, he represents the exporters' council. Patrick Komba was replaced by him. Kapka has more than 20 years of expertise in coffee growing, trade, and export, according to CICL acting chief executive officer Charles Dambui. “CICL looks forward to working with the new board to deliver the National Coffee Road Map (2020-2030) and the CICL Business Strategic Plan (2020-2024),” he said.   Reference: The National (28 July 2021). ‘Decline in production costs industry K88 million’

Agriculture

PNG Business News - July 21, 2021

Study Says Sweet Potato Growers Have Received Significant Insights into Customers Buying Habits

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), sweet potato (kaukau) growers have received significant insight into customer buying habits, which is assisting them in identifying new market possibilities. The recent market analysis, which was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, revealed that an increasing number of consumers in Port Moresby prefer to buy fresh produce from supermarkets, citing convenience and safety as reasons. While this trend may result in fewer consumers at conventional farmer markets, PNG and Australian experts believe it may open up new marketplaces for rural people. “Farmers are looking for stable markets where they can receive more consistent prices for better-quality produce,” said Professor Philip Brown from Central Queensland University (CQU), who is leading the research project.  “The research shows that consumer behaviour is likely to support an expansion in the supermarket sector in large urban centres and this is positive news for the farmers. This could allow commercial focused farmers to secure more stable market access.” The study of 353 customers was conducted as part of ACIAR-funded sweet potato research sponsored by CQU and the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), which aims to improve sweet potato value chains by increasing the quality of harvested roots. Sweet potato quality and production are improving, resulting in increasing supplies to retailers eager to provide better fresh produce. “The project, with support from the Fresh Produce Development Agency and NARI, is helping farmers to build their business skills and connect with emerging supermarket opportunities,” said Professor Brown. Kirt Hainzer, a CQU researcher who collaborated on the survey alongside NARI researchers, said it was the first study to look at customer behaviour and see what role stores may play in the development of PNG's commercial sweet potato sector. “The research sought to better understand and compare how consumers buy staples from open markets and supermarkets and to explore the preferences for purchasing staple foods as supermarkets increase the availability of convenience staples like rice,” said Hainzer. “Although expanding formal sales represents a huge step forward in developing a commercial sweet potato industry, continued research on consumer preferences and the market for fresh produce will help better understand trends in staple food purchasing and what market opportunities exist for growers.” With over a hundred kinds of sweet potato in the nation, NARI economist Raywin Ovah said the study sought to find out which of these customers preferred. “Not all the varieties are preferred from a consumer point of view. There are only a few that consumers want to be based on the taste or health properties and that is what we want to also find out. Farmers can be provided with that information, so they produce those varieties that the market wants.” One of five initiatives under the Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program is a project to increase commercial sweet potato production and commercialization in the PNG highlands. The ACIAR program, which is funded by Australia in collaboration with the government of Papua New Guinea, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural men and women through private sector-led development, increased agricultural productivity and quality, and the development of individual and institutional capacity.   Reference: Loop (20 July 2021). “Study looks into sweet potato industry”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - July 15, 2021

Agriculture Cost is Expensive, Says Minister

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.   Reference:  Tom, Patrick. Post-Courier (13 July 2021). “Cost Of Agriculture In PNG Too Expensive, Says Simon”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - July 02, 2021

Cocoa Sector to Enhance Standing in International Markets

Photo Credit: Paga Hill Estate According to the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Programme, the country's cocoa sector is poised to enhance its standing in international markets, due to recent investment aimed at decreasing smoke taint and increasing cocoa quality (Phama Plus). The PNG Cocoa Board is collaborating with Phama Plus to improve possibilities for PNG's cocoa-growing communities. “Through the support of Australia and New Zealand, Phama Plus has been in collaboration with the PNG Cocoa Board since 2015, providing training in innovative farming practices that maximise profitability and income and maintain a sustainable value chain to improve international competitiveness for PNG sourced cocoa,” Phama Plus said in a statement. “PNG is a longstanding producer of high-quality cocoa on the global market; however, due to smoke taint affecting the flavour of cocoa, PNG’s fine flavour status was recently reduced (from 90 percent to 75 per cent) by the International Cocoa Organisation. “This impacted the premiums paid for cocoa and influences the value of trade from international niche and speciality cocoa buyers. “Recently, 57 local farmers and their team leaders in Lower Watut, Morobe and Aitape, West Sepik attended training sessions delivered by Cocoa Board officers on the correct post-harvest practices to better understand key stages of primary processing of cocoa, including harvesting, transportation, fermentation, drying and storage.”   Reference: The National (30 June 2021). “New initiative to improve cocoa quality”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

Cause of Low Coffee Output Identified

Inadequate extension services have been identified as a cause of low coffee output in the country, according to a study. Prof Eugene Ezebilo, the National Research Institute's deputy director for research, authored a paper titled Strategic initiatives to boost the competitiveness of coffee production in Papua New Guinea” It gives you some ideas for how to improve the production of coffee in PNG. Inadequate facilities for processing coffee are also mentioned as a significant issue. The conclusions have been pressed upon agricultural managers, planners, and policymakers. “Coffee is one of the most important agricultural commodities for the government and farmers,” Prof Ezebilo states. “Though PNG has a suitable environment and climatic conditions for growing high-quality coffee, there are challenges that need to be addressed. “The findings will assist agriculture managers, planners and policymakers in making decisions on how to improve coffee production in an effective and efficient manner.” Inadequate facilities for processing coffee, insufficient extension services, and limited access to funding were among the problems. Coffee output in PNG may be enhanced, according to the research, by encouraging efficient extension services for coffee producers and removing coffee plants that had outlived their economic usefulness. Providing low-interest loans to farmers who wish to grow output and promoting contemporary production and processing techniques were also suggested as ways to boost productivity.   References: The National (21 June 2021). “Lack of extensive services behind drop in coffee production: Study”. The National Research Institute. “Research findings important to improving coffee industry”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 28, 2021

PM Marape urges SMEs to venture into agriculture

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has pointed Papua New Guinea small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to agriculture as a space that they can move into. He said this when addressing the 3rd SME Business Breakfast at APEC Haus in Port Moresby on Friday (June 5th 2021) which also marked the end of SME Week. PM Marape said agriculture could supply domestic needs as well as export to other countries. He said PNG was the closest Pacific country to Asia, including Indonesia right next door, which had a population of 260 million. PM Marape said the majority of Indonesians were Muslims who ate beef. “I wonder why the grasslands of Sepik and Fly are doing nothing,” he said. “Those are places where we can raise beef (cattle) and supply to the 260 million Muslims next door.” PM Marape said the next 100 years would be the “Asian century” as the increasing population there needed more food, water and energy. He said PNG could follow the track of New Zealand in becoming a specialist food producer to supply the population of Asia. PM Marape pointed out the case of Fiji water, which was now sold around the world, and added PNG could do similar through organic food. “Organic food supply to niche markets in Asia can be a forte, can be a specialist area, going into the future,” he said.  “Government will look at those concepts and work with the SME Corporation, for those who want to be innovative in the space of SMEs, whether in export-based businesses or domestic supply.”

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 17, 2021

Government Poised To Launch PMIZ Project

Photo Credit: PNGI Central    The National Government is poised to launch the massive Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) Project, which would change Papua New Guinea from a coastline to a full-fledged fishing nation. Dr Lino Tom, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, organized a meeting in Madang recently to demonstrate the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) Project's fisheries potential to the Treasury Department and the Madang Provincial Government. Tom stated that the Fisheries Ministry and the NFA will work closely with Treasury on financing options in order to fully capitalize on the opportunity for the people and country to reassert the government's emphasis on 'Taking Back Fisheries,' as well as contribute to a collective action from across all sectors to 'Take Back PNG,' in collaboration with all stakeholders involved. “PMIZ will contribute to developing a vibrant, broad base, and value-adding fisheries sector that will be globally competitive and domestically inclusive, providing revenue for the Government, wealth creation and food security for the people. “This is a national project of paramount importance that will create jobs and growing our economy, this is a regional project that positions us as a competitive regional hub and global leader in the tuna economy,” said Tom. “The project has been challenged, delayed and unresolved for over 15 years. “The recent NEC decision to have the PMIZ sit under the ambit of NFA so it can be brought back on track is well overdue but timely. “The project requires a whole of government approach through collective political bureaucratic will, harmonised legislative frame and policy support, effective cooperation and operational efficiency. It now gives the Marape-Basil government the ability to move on with the vital project that was initially mandated by the government in 2008. “Work with us to get the PMIZ back on track and finally bring this momentous vision to life,” said Tom.   Reference: Post-Courier (15 June 2021). “NFA Ready To Implement PMIZ”

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 14, 2021

Rice Imports Costing K1 Billion Each Year

According to an agriculture official, the nation spends K1 billion on rice imports each year. Stephen Mombi, DAL deputy secretary technological development division, warned that as the world's population grows, rice consumption would skyrocket, necessitating more imports. He stated that rice has a tiny market of approximately 10%, but as the world's population grows, that market area will decrease, demand will rise on both a domestic and international basis. “So, we as a developing nation also importing competing with other countries to import from that small market space hence we must grow rice domestically because the population is increasing,” he said. “So just estimate that by the year 2050, the population might go up to 10 million.” “We are consuming about 400,000 metric tonnes of rice every year and per capita consumption is about 35-40 kilos per person annually.” According to Mombi, the government has developed a national rice policy for the period 2015-2030, which focuses on recruiting large-scale private sector investment into rice production. “When that player comes in and then you mobilise all smallholders to participate in rice farming by supporting them with technical advice and machinery,” he said. “We need to cut down on that and encourage domestic production by involving the smallholder farmers so that we increase domestic production,” he said.   Reference: Tom, Patrick. Post-Courier (8 June 2021). “Rice Imports Costly”.

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