Category Archives: Agriculture

Chocolate brand supports farmers to boost quality

QUEEN Emma Chocolate, a subsidiary of Paradise Foods Limited, is supporting local cocoa farmers to look after their plots to produce quality cocoa, a company official says.
The official, general manager Karina Makori, was speaking during the Air Niugini Cocoa Warwagira last week in Kokopo.
She said cocoa has been around for so many years and the company which was established in 2012 added value to the commodity.
“We have now a value-added product and are not just exporting but we can have something from our own cocoa on our shelves that visitors can buy and take back into their countries.”
Makori said PNG has the standard to meet cocoa quality and there was demand for chocolate.
“Paradise Foods’ Queen Emma has made chocolate affordable for people today,” she said.
“We have been making commercial bars since Feb last year at the chocolate factory in Port Moresby.”
The chocolate company is  proud to be working with farmers from Bougainville, their biggest supplier, as well the Lower Watut Cooperative Society in Morobe, the Tree Kangaroo Foundation in Madang and growers from Milne Bay. Last week she encouraged farmers in East New Britain to also become suppliers.
“Our social responsibility to the people is through downstream processing of cocoa as the livelihood of many farmers in rural area depends on cocoa.”


El Nino warning issued


Papua New Guinea must prepare for a potential El Nino weather phenomena in August, which could bring drier than normal conditions, the National Disaster Centre warned yesterday.

National Disaster Centre acting director Martin Mose said preparations on this potential El Nino should not be taken lightly.

“We have all witnessed the events of various El Nino’s in the past, and currently we can see and feel that during the day time, it is much warmer and there are cooler and colder nights.

“In 2015 and 2016, more than 2.4 million Papua New Guineans were affected by El Nino, where almost 400,000 people faced food insecurity,” he said.

Mr Mose said aside from food insecurity and malnutrition, the 2015 El Nino induced drought also created a number of other critical needs including water shortages, lack of proper sanitation and increased incidences of communicable diseases.

“The shortage of water led to the closure of many schools and the economic impact of that phenomenon was estimated to be widespread, affecting small to medium size businesses as well as bigger industries such as mining and agriculture,” he said.

National Weather Service assistant director forecasting and warning centre Jimmy Gomoga said that the World Meteorological Organisation had, since March, reported a 50 percent likelihood of a return to El Nino in the second half of 2017.

“When moving into El Nino, scientist are monitoring the Central Pacific where there is an increase in the temperature.

“Some of the El Nino impacts on the weather parametres are that, when the Central Pacific experiences warmer temperature, reduced rainfall in the Western Pacific where the temperatures become cooler, drought conditions experienced, and there is delay on the onset of the monsoon with also reduced number of tropical cyclones,” he said.

He said the temperature was warmer due to the reduced cloud cover, where the sun’s energy comes right through, therefore, during the daytime, it is much warmer and at night, it is very cold.

“For the highlands, there will be colder nights with extremely increased frost hazards,” he said.

Mr Mose was pleased that PNG has adopted a systematic approach to planning for the actions.

“It is important that we start with technical inputs from experts as such from National Weather Service, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), to share with us the likely climate impacts and location of the likely impacts on analysis of the historical climate data.

Comply with World Bank Procurement Process and Guidelines to Serve Farmers Better

*** Officers Told to Follow World Bank Guidelines ***

Officers engaged with Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project must comply with World Bank procurement process and guidelines to serve farmers better.

This was the message given to 18 officers employed as project coordinators, extension officers and data entry clerks by project manager Potaisa Hombunaka.

The officers attended a one-day training in Goroka recently.

“There is no short cut in the PPAP modality. We have to comply with the rules of engagement when it comes to procuring goods and services,” Hombunaka said.

The participants work for partnerships who are implementing coffee rehabilitation work in Goroka.

The activities included improving farmers’ coffee gardens, setting up nurseries for coffee seedlings and carrying out improved post-harvest practices in cluster groups.

The training was conducted by Procurement Consultant Theresa Witi. It was the first time the officers in Eastern Highlands to gain an insight into World Bank’s procurement and tender process conducted by Coffee Industry Corporation through its PPAP coffee component.

The National Newspaper May 24, 2017

PM O’Neill Launches K23 Million Agro-Farming

Enga Province celebrated another milestone achievement with the opening of one of the largest Agro farming operations in Enga Province.

Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill opened the K23 million Innovative Agri Industrial centre at Surinki that will supply 200 tonnes of fresh produce for the both the local and international market.

An elated Governor Sir Peter lpatas, said Engans were known to turn disadvantages into advantages through education where prominent Engans led in all sectors of the nation and soon in Agriculture also.

In what was an abandoned agriculture station, riddled with tribal fights, stands today a modern agriculture industrial centre, built under a Public Private Partnership with Innovative Agro Industry.

The IAI centre will become the nucleus agro farm that will engage hundreds of local growers throughout the province. Governor Ipatas said the Innovative Agri Industrial centre would supply the nation with quality potatoes, onions, carrots and a variety of strawberries that will also be exported to overseas markets.

Amongst the many farmers engaged by the IAI centre, twelve young men and women underwent extensive academic and practical training in Israel to provide extension services to farmers in their communities.

PM O’Neill officially opened the farm, and presented K5 million to the Governor from the national government and congratulated the Governor, the people of Surinki for delivering the project ahead of schedule despite numerous challenges.

The PM said that such ventures were part and parcel of the policies delivered by the O’Neill-Dion Government that create opportunities for Papua New Guineans in rural areas. Executive Chairman Illan Weiss of the IAI centre said the project also included the 9 mile farm outside Port Moresby, Koroba and Tari Piwa farms in Hela and the soon to build, llimo Dairy Farm in Central Province.

He also said the SHP IAI centre and the development of agriculture in East Sepik are part of the development plans for the agriculture sector in the country.

Friday April 14 2017

Helping Papua New Guinea to take the sweet potato from garden market to supermarket

By Kallee Buchanan – Queensland Country Hour 

An Australian agronomist is helping farmers in Papua New Guinea transition from growing sweet potato to feed their families, to growing food to feed the nation.

CQUniversity professor of horticultural science Phil Brown has been investigating how to take the crop from garden market model to a complete integrated supply chain servicing supermarkets in the big cities.

He said sweet potato was the major energy source for most people in PNG.

“In a lot of countries around the world the cereal crops like wheat and rice are the major source of carbohydrates, in PNG it’s sweet potato,” he said.


“They have maybe up to 100 different varieties. It is their major food source, but it’s been used as a subsistence crop.

“The challenge we’re looking at is how do you convert that type of system to a more commercial system where people can make money from selling sweet potato.”

The researchers have introduced technology to enable the farmers to produce seedlings free of disease, thus increasing their productivity and allowing them to grow larger volumes of the vegetable.

“If we can produce material that is free from viruses, we can plant that material as a commercial crop.

“We’ll get higher yields and better looking sweet potato which then has a greater market appeal,” Professor Brown said.

“It will be an interesting transition to go from a subsistence system where they are just collecting cuttings from their own gardens … to actually purchasing good planting material, growing their crops and selling it into a marketplace.”

Population shift drives demand

The project, which is funded by the Australian Government through the Centre for International Agricultural Research and collaborates with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, comes as the population in Papua New Guinea shifts from the traditionally agrarian highland areas to be more centralised in major cities.

“As population grows people are moving in to the urban centres so the potential market for sweet potato in the towns and cities is continuing to grow,” Professor Brown said.

“That’s a commercial opportunity that these small holder farmers in the highlands can take advantage of.”

New infrastructure had also encouraged growers to take part in the project, as development of roads and logistics opened up lucrative new markets in previously unreachable cities.

“The PNG government set up a highway, the Highlands Highway, from the coast all the way up to the highlands,” Professor Brown said.

“While the road’s pretty rough, it actually is a pathway where product from the highlands can make it down to the coastal city of Lae and then by boat through to Port Moresby.

“There’s now not an ideal supply chain but at least it’s possible to get product into the market.”

Working to empower women

Along with working with the farmers, who were predominantly men, Professor Brown said the project was also empowering women, who were the traditional sellers of the vegetables.

“Sweet potato production and marketing is a really good area where the women in PNG can have a major role in the decision making in the chain,” he said.


“In a culture like PNG the women often aren’t engaged in any of the key decision making and women’s lives are generally not as flash as the blokes over there.

“We’re very conscious of trying to support and empower women in the supply chains and the production systems so that we can benefit the whole family, the whole of the community.

“It’s not just a commercial focus where we try to help a few businessmen make more money.”

Bundaberg, where Professor Brown is based, is Australia’s largest sweet potato growing region which he said demonstrated how the project also played a critical role in helping Australian producers better understand of the pathogens and threats they might face.

“We’ve got an opportunity to survey for what viruses are present in the crops in PNG, and we can reasonably expect some of those viruses over time might make their way to Australia,” he said.

“We’ve also started to trial some new technology for virus detection in the field rather than having to collect samples and send them off to a laboratory.


“That technology can be used in Australia as well so when we’re doing our virus survey work in the field we’re going to be much better prepared to identify when something comes into the country or just to look at the ones we already know are here.”


Photos by Phil Brown, CQUniversity

Six Provinces Declared CBB Infested

Six Highlands provinces have been declared as disease areas following the outbreak of the destructive coffee berry borer (CBB) in Banz, Jiwaka Province.

The coffee-producing provinces affected, apart from Jiwaka, are Western Highlands, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands and Enga.

CBB, poses a major threat to Papua New Guinea’s K700 million industry since its detection on February 21.

National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) managing director Joel Alu said in a paid newspaper advertisement yesterday that the declaration means that the movement of coffee cherry parchment and green beans out of the disease areas into non-infested areas are prohibited at this stage.

Mr Alu said that Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll had declared the six provinces as disease areas effective from March 8 until further notice.

Mr Tomscoll said yesterday that he would make a detailed announcement today at a news conference in Port Moresby.

The minister’s declaration which has also been gazetted in the National Gazette also means that infested coffee beans and trees in the disease areas must be destroyed. He also declared restricted areas which are all coffee growing provinces and prohibitive measures to eradicate, contain and manage the spread of CBB also known by its scientific name hypothenemus hampei.

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All coffee dealers are prohibited from selling or buying unprocessed coffee in the restricted areas unless approved by the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).

The CIC may also confiscate and dispose of coffee plants or tree parts suspected of being contaminated and do the same for materials used in the transportation of suspected contaminated coffee.

It may also prevent transportation of processed coffee from restricted areas to the point of export, the only exception is when a fumigation notice is granted by the CIC.

Post-Courier March 15, 2017 3.04 am

Farmers request coffee storage houses

BY: Cedric Patjole

Coffee farmers in Middle Ramu, Madang Province, have requested for storage houses to be setup to improve the marketability of coffee beans.

Stallholders have requested to the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) under the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) to set up the storage houses at several serviceable airstrips in Simbai and Kovon areas of Middle Ramu District.

The request was made during a nine-day visit into the mountains of Simbai and Kovon by a PPAP-CIC team.

PPAP-CIC Project Manager, Potaisa Hombunaka. Says lack of road and market access continues to remain a hindrance, not only for the farmers but also for the general population in these two remotely located areas.

“We will discuss with the Diocese of Aipo Rong – Anglican Church of PNG

(ACPNG) as our lead partner implementing the coffee rehabilitation activities with farmers in these LLGs as a way forward.

“The growers can’t earn a fair price for their hard work despite our effort to improve coffee gardens with distribution of tools and training on best practices,” Hombunaka says.



Simbai and Kovon are only accessible by small Mission Avuation (MAF) planes which use eight airstrips located on mountain tops.

The development of the storage sheds, with an estimated capacity to hold 200 bags and will cost an estimated K50,000 to build.

This storage sheds will promote the following:

To help coffee farmers deliver parchment coffee to a central location for potential buyers including coffee processors and exporters;

To create and mobilise interest among stakeholders for the setting up of coffee processing mills in Simbai and Kovon to buy directly from growers.

To give growers the opportunity to negotiate a better or fair price;

To monitor and record coffee production efficiently from these locations;

To strengthen farmer groups or growers’ cooperatives to work together;

To encourage and develop group marketing concept among growers and cooperatives to sell green bean coffee directly overseas for a premium price, etc.

Vincent Kaniemba, the Project coordinator for ACPNG has started the process of talking with a traditional landowners at Dusin airstrip to make available a portion of land for construction of the first storage shed should PPAP can fund the shed under it’s Infrastructure Market Access component.

Kaniemba who also coordinated the CIC-PPAP teams recent visit to the Simbai and Kovon said growers will continue to carry coffee bags and walk two to three hours to these storage sheds.

“This is the least we can do to ease the hardship or struggles farmers here are facing until such time a road connects them to either Mt Hagen or Madang,” he said.


The PPAP-CIC in partnership with ACPNG under call 2 is currently working with 877 farmers in the area covering 345 hectares.

The rough terrains and fast flowing rivers make coffee development work a big challenge, hence PPAP-CIC is considering new approaches to deliver coffee improvement work  under call Three and Four.

Coffee remains the main source of income for the people but because of air freight cost they currently sell their parchment coffee to middle men or agents at a very low price of between K1.70 and K2.30 per kilogram.

The latest weekly factory door price issued by CIC for class 1 parchment coffee is K4.87 per kg and K3.83 per kg for class 2 coffee.

The PPAP-Coffee Component is a CIC project under the auspices of Department of Agriculture & Livestock. It is financed by a loan facility from World Bank (IDA) and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) with counter-funding from PNG Government.

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