PNG Business News - March 09, 2021
Government Commits K1 Million in East New Britain
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Livestock Development Corporation (LDC), ENB Provincial Government and the Rabaul District Investment Corporation Ltd at Kurakakaul has pledged the government K1 million towards setting up the Kurakakaul abattoir and ranch rehabilitation project in Rabaul, East New Britain. Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon said that the government wants to help this province through this MoU. “We want to revive the cattle industry in terms of cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock hence, we are also committed to reviving the abattoir and will provide a funding of K1 million to get this project started,” he said. “We will bring in cattle and other livestock to be distributed to farmers, who will look after them, and sell them to the abattoir. A stockyard for cattle will be built as well.” He said that the government has made the same commitment in remote Sialum, Morobe, where a stockyard would be built to buy cattle from local farmers. The MOU was signed by Minister Simon, ENB Governor Nakikus Konga, Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat, Department of Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Daniel Kombuk, ENB provincial administrator Wilson Matava.
PNG Business News - March 09, 2021
Grants Benefit Farmers and Women
The grants coursed through the Bougainville partnership commodity support facility will benefit cocoa farmers and women. An initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government supported by Australia through the PNG-Australia partnership, and the New Zealand government, the grants range between K300,000 and K500,000 benefitting. Some of those selected include Kukurina Business Group which will use the grant to improve crop quality and rehabilitate cocoa blocks, among others. Jonathan Kopas head this group, with support from treasurer Larry Augustine, secretary Hilda Kopa and vice-secretary Peninah James. Meanwhile, Australian High Commission’s counsellor for Bougainville Clayton Harrington said that obvious were the economic benefits of the programme. “Australia believes in the future of the Bougainville cocoa industry to improve livelihoods,” he said.
PNG Business News - February 10, 2021
Marape: Commodity Cost Support Programme Will Support Coffee Market Costs
In a recent visit to Jiwaka, Prime Minister James Marape said that the commodity cost support programme will support the current coffee market costs.Following the initial K50mil allocated last November, Marape said that the programme will receive K200 million each year. Through the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), the government has already allotted K10 million. Marape said, “This funding will support the current market price to be fixed at K6 per kg for Arabica coffee, K5.50 for Robusta coffee and K2 for Cherry coffee.Meanwhile, Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon said the CIC is going to work with five registered coffee dealers in Jiwaka who pay the price of cherry at K2 per kg and coffee at K6 per kg. CIC acting chief executive officer Charles Dambui expressed his gratitude to the Government for the price support. “In the past, price support was executed at the free onboard price (green bean price) where only exporters benefitted,” he said. “We are now changing the approach.”He added that the implementation phase was very important in the success of the programme and in looking after its sustainability.
PNG Business News - February 04, 2021
Coffee Needs to be Marketed Better to International Consumers
During the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (Phama Plus) and the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), it is emphasized that marketing needs more attention in the exportation of coffee to the international market.While Rachael McCarthy of the New Zealand High Commission is happy to support the PNG coffee farmers, Joshua Kaile of the Australia department of foreign affairs said that they recognise the significance of agriculture in the coffee industry. CIC general manager Steven Tumae looked at the need for more exposure. “The MoU is a partnership agreement between Phama and ourselves (CIC),” he said. “It’s basically to do with Phama Plus helping us with the marketing of coffee overseas. We’ve been putting a lot of money into the coffee industry but there has not been enough help. We are hoping that Phama can train people in the industry. We’ve also asked them to help set up quality control grading labs in certain areas throughout the country.”Pharma Plus gives targeted assistance for Pacific Island countries to work on their regulatory aspects linked with primary and value-added products. This involves accessing products into new markets.
PNG Business News - January 29, 2021
Extension Services Must be put in Place, Says Agriculture Minister
To support local farmers to encourage them to take part in cash cropping, extension services in agriculture into rural areas must take place.This was according to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) Minister John Simon who said that the country needs 400 agriculture extension officers.“Many farmers are trying their best to sustain their farms and to keep them going but they are faced with mounting challenges from pests to field management, harvesting and treatment,” he said. “When these farmers struggle alone without expert advice, they will give up and move on to something else. This affects production that we have over the years with cocoa and coffee as well as others.”Simon said that this was part of boosting the economy. He added that he had already encouraged Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and Cocoa Board to invest more in extension service work. “Go out to farmers in the rural areas and establish why they have abandoned coffee and cocoa plantations so that you can see the real problems and solve them,” Simon said, saying that the Board needs to be more effective.“Get more extension officers out to districts and local level government areas where the farmers are and help them so that more is produced to supply the markets overseas.”Simon said that in the last two decades, work for the extension officers gradually diminished.
PNG Business News - January 27, 2021
Tate: Log Export Tax a Failed Policy
The round log export tax was a failed policy.According to Forestry Industry Association president Bob Tate, the current tax regime (50.2 per cent) had affected businesses which resulted in a decline of US$83 million (K288.42mil) from January to November in 2020.In 2020, royalty payment to landowners also saw a decline of K16 million because of the decrease in the production of 20 per cent by firms due to the high tax. As a result of the mills and processing sites closing its operations, an estimated 8,000 local and 600 foreign workers were booted out of their jobs. Wages lost were figured to be around K4 million. Tate said that in 2020, government revenue went up to K383,465,238 million from K379,011,840 million in 2019. He added that unfortunately, the industry will still go down this year. “It’s going to get worse, not better,” Tate said. “A lot of companies including these processing factories are all shut, all finished and they are not going to reopen. It started last year and will continue this year. The impact of the tax is slowing shutting things down.”Because of the health crisis, Tate said that the demand for the processed products of the country had gone down and will only go up when the economy improves. Meanwhile, PNG Forestry Authority managing director Tunou Sabuin said that the forestry industry could only recover if the tax goes from 50.2 per cent back to 28.5 per cent. Because of the high log export tax regime and uncertainty in the investment world with policy changes, the industry was not looking good. “There is nothing much that the Government of PNG can do about the pandemic as it relates to trade in timber,” Sabuin said. “But it can make a decision on the reduction of log export tax to support the forest industry survive.”In taxes, the industry contributes on average K334.3 million per year, said the organisation. From 2015 to November 2020, taxes paid were K2 billion.
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PNG Business News - January 22, 2021
There Is Potential for PNG to Export Rice, Says Official
Papua New Guinea may likely export rice in the future. That is if this industry can gain support. According to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) rice extension unit programme manager Heai Hoko, only Trukai Industries has been exporting rice to Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands presently. He added that PNG rice had the potential to export to other Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and even China given the high number of populations in these countries. “Indonesia has about 270 million people, they still need more to feed their people, cattle, beef and rice,” he said. “Even though they are a rice-growing country, they still have a need to feed their people, either they get it domestically or from outside.”Initially, rice is deemed for local consumption but eventually, Hoko said it has to be exported. He added that DAL was looking into the Sepik plains to develop a rice industry - with the chance to export to rice from either Vanimo or Weak to these other Asian countries. Aside from Trukai, the players include Homestate Co-operative (Star Rice) and Goodman Fielder (Skel Rice).
PNG Business News - January 21, 2021
DAL Plans to Develop Rice Farming Into Corporate Entity
To generate income, the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) has plans to develop rice farming into a corporate entity.According to the programme manager for the department’s rice extension unit Steven Hoko, rice at present is only a programme in the department. He said that the plan involved creating a rice board with its own corporate entity to strengthen domestic rice production. Unlike other produce, rice doesn’t have a corporate entity to develop strategies, plan and goals. Studies show that PNG imports K400 to K500 million of rice each year. “The goal is that we at least achieve some level of self-sufficiency in rice production in the country,” he said. “If we do that, we can save money spent each year buying rice. If we target five per cent, that could be like some K10 million to K20 million and as we progressively increase that and, for full sufficiency, we can save K400 million to K500 million or even K600 million.”Part of the plan, he said, is rolling out large-scale rice farming starting in Maprik, East Sepik. At one stage, East Sepik had 12,000 smallholder rice farmers at 4,000 with Madang.
PNG Business News - January 18, 2021
Morobe Can Net K100 Million Per Annum with Cocoa
If production increases from 4,500 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes a year, Morobe may likely net K100 million a year. According to the Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea (CBPNG) chief executive officer Boto Gaupu, the profit of the province may increase if the tonnage is increased too. “Morobe used to produce about 800 tonnes of cocoa in a year but over the last five years, that has gone up to 4,500 tonnes,” Gaupu said, adding that public-private partnership support is needed. “That is why CBPNG, in its remote cocoa freight subsidy programme initiative, is looking at partnering with stakeholders to help rural farmers in the cocoa producing provinces to transport their produce to established markets.”Gaupu said CBPNG was bent on helping farmers get their produce to the market. “For Morobe in 2017, CBPNG paid some money for freight costs to NCA and today, is the replenishment of the funds depleted over the years in freighting services rendered by NCA in Morobe.”The challenge, he said, was that farmers need to produce quality cocoa. “With the government intervention to increase the cocoa price through its prize support programme, farmers will now receive farm gate price higher than the market price,” Gaupu said.
PNG Business News - January 18, 2021
Marape Urges PNG to Venture Into Agriculture
Prime Minister Hon James Marape has urged the nation to venture into the small- agricultural business. “We will partner districts and provinces who want to help the National Government empower our people with increased revenue from their investments in agriculture,” he said. “There is a global demand for coffee, vanilla, cocoa, copra, oil palm, rubber, etc. The Government’s investment to give good prices to the growers will mean increased production and increased export, which is beneficial to the country and our people. Every citizen of our country has land, which can produce one or two cash crops, for which our citizens can get good prices for their produce. The Government, through each district and province, will buy at points where growers are. This will cut away middlemen and it will be a win-win for everyone.”He added, “My Government is focused on empowering the majority 80 per cent of our people who are presently living a subsistence life. This is a deliberate policy to bring this majority of Papua New Guineans into the cash economy. We are not just talking but implementing our policies like agriculture price support, and SME loan scheme, with Budget support. I encourage Papua New Guineans not to laze around but pick up an agriculture SME – which is now profitable with better prices through the Government’s price support policy.”He made the call at East Sepik in front of cocoa and vanilla growers. Also in attendance were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Hon. John Simon, State Enterprises Minister Hon. William Duma, Education Minister Hon. Jimmy Uguro and Defence Minister Hon. Solan Mirism.
PNG Business News - January 15, 2021
Jave: Spice industry Needs Growth and Development
According to Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) Highlands region provincial and industry support services director John Jave, the spice industry needs growth and development - with farming, processing, and supporting household farming tagged as vital to the economy of the country. “Spice in PNG has a huge potential in generating foreign exchange income if given the support for development and establishment of value chain mechanisms,” he said. “With the current trend of increase in the spices at the international arena, PNG has the potential in benefiting from such opportunities for economic growth,” Jave said government funding was crucial. I see the spice sector is dead and only few active farmers dedicate their time, effort and resources to strive against the tide of imports. This is a very unfair state for this alternative cash crop that has the potential to perform like coffee.”Jave has expressed his appreciation for the government for touching on rural through its intervention programme and agricultural price support. “It is a big move in the right direction that should trigger the transformation of rural communities and economic recovery,” he said. “Agriculture is the life-stream that clothes and feeds 85 per cent of the Papua New Guineans.”
PNG Business News - January 15, 2021
Logging Project in Bouganville to Start Next Month
The Tonolei logging project in South Bougainville is set to start next month.This was disclosed by local MP Timothy Masiu, the Communication and Information Technology Minister, who said that resource developer KKCL based in East New Briain would land its equipment and machinery next month.He also thanked the Tonolei Development Corporation (TDC) landowner company for getting the project going, since this has been delayed for two years to give time for the landowners to work on social mapping exercises and register incorporated land groups. He also asked for support from the Autonomous Bougainville Government. Masiu also expressed his appreciation to TDC Chairman John Kebau for showing accountability and transparency by giving an acquittal report. He said that his DDA would resume to support and work with the TDC.
PNG Business News - January 12, 2021
Tammur: Empower Programmes that Can Boost Economic Independence
In order to have a better society, start with the lives of each family first. To do this, empower them with programmes that can boost their economic independence. Thus, said Kokopo MP Emil Tammur, who added that coconut and cocoa development programmes would grow the local economy so that families can earn. He added that the priority of the Kokopo development authority (DDA) board was to support the agricultural development programmes in the vicinity. “Agriculture and farming is where the bulk of the population back in the ward levels are heavily involved in, therefore, our focus is to support the programmes that can help change our people’s livelihoods,” he said.Tammur noted that it was the cocoa nursery farmers who implemented the agriculture programmes which the board had planned for. The relationship between these two sectors began in 2015 but stopped last year when the pandemic happened. The funds for the farmers were then redirected to the covid pandemic. “We took the funds from these programmes to support our family members from the six wards in the Raluana LLG who were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic early last year, that is why most of the payments were delayed,” he said.Tammur expressed his gratitude to Joan Magaga, officer-in-charge of the Kokopo rural development office, and her team for giving support to farmers. “We wouldn’t have come this far if not for the partnerships between all stakeholders,” he said.
PNG Business News - December 21, 2020
Gov’t Urges Rice Importers to Invest Locally
In sync with the goal of the government to limit rice imports, Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon said that it is perhaps best that rice importers invest in the local rice economy. “We’d like to see companies investing in the country,” he said. “On rice, what we are going to do is to see us growing the industry. We must not always continue to import. We must look at ways to grow the industry here. We would like to go into partnership with rice importers and start growing rice in the country.He added, “One of the problems that everyone’s been telling me about is the issue with the land because 97 per cent of land in the country is customary-land owned by our people.“But we would like companies to partner landowners and make arrangements to grow rice in the country. This is a challenge to all the rice importers, if you are bringing so much, you’ve got to start producing so much in the country at a certain level, and the other certain level you import. If we don’t start now, when are we going to start?” Simon said. “We are going to start now and start advising our partners and friends that we are doing this. We want people involved in the industry to invest in the country.”Simon added that the Department of Agriculture would like to partner with the Livestock Development Corporation as the government can use the land to plant more rice. “We would like to bring partners in so we develop some of that land,” he said.
PNG Business News - December 14, 2020
Cabinet Approves NAQIA Facilities
Cabinet has approved the K20 million submission to establish the facilities of the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (Naqia) across the country.According to Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon, “The managing director Joel Alu and I took the submission to the Cabinet in which we got an approval of roughly K20 million to set up Naqia quarantine facilities throughout the country,” he said. “The country is growing and Naqia is understaffed.”The plan shows the particular strategies and achievable milestones over a duration of five years. “Agriculture is viewed as the industry with the broader potential to raise the highest number of small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs in the country,” Simon said. “Accordingly, it is anticipated that the number of businesses associated with agriculture will rise to levels where Naqia will be scrambling for capacity and resources to facilitate unprecedented growth in trade in the immediate future. PNG is part of the global village and Naqia is required to foster partnerships with the international community to enhance our socio-economic development aspirations in a safe and secure environment. Our global integration, collaboration and partnership come with challenges and risks to the foundation of our livelihood from regulated pests and disease on animals and plants through the movement of goods, people and transportation.”He continues, “Naqia’s vision, mission and strategic objectives align itself to the national policies and strategies. It clearly demonstrates the authority’s commitment to supporting the implementation of these policies. The plan provides the strategic direction and leadership in fostering collaboration and cohesive partnerships with core stakeholders, regional and international network partners in addressing biosecurity legislation and relevant policies affecting compliance with international sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards."