Category Archives: Agriculture

Cost of rice will not increase: Trukai

Source: Loop PNG

 

PNG’s leading rice supplier, Trukai Industries, says it will not increase the cost of rice in the country.

 

Trukai Industries CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre, said while Trukai understands and is deeply concerned over the current economic conditions in PNG, and the pending inflationary impact of fuel price increases, currency devaluation and reduced consumer spending power, it has no plans at this point of passing on the impact of these issues to PNG consumers.

 

Worthington-Eyre says Trukai’s focus on food security, which includes affordability and quality, is at the forefront and they will be making every effort to support the people of PNG.

 

Trukai is the oldest and largest rice distribution and manufacturer in PNG, having been established in February 17th, 1970.

 

Apart from rice, they also supply stockfeed.

Author: Charmaine Poriambep

Airline hails increase in transport subsidies

ONE proposed Government action that should clearly benefit PNG Air is the proposal to increase subsidies for the transport of perishable agricultural products in the country, says chairman Murray Woo.

 
He said this was a sensible economic policy, promoting growth in the agricultural sector, and potentially leading to export markets as well as some import substitution.

 
“It fits particularly well with PNG Air’s decision to convert one of its Dash 8 aircraft to a freighter configuration,” Woo said. “Increased vegetable carriage would provide a steady revenue stream from this aircraft, importantly on flights into Port Moresby.

 
“The aircraft is also able to carry relatively large one-off loads by charter, and to make other regular cargo runs.

 
“The board has not been content to rely on re-fleeting and an upturn in the PNG economy alone to improve the company’s performance.”

 
He said Nasfund, as one of the airline’s major shareholders, had commissioned a report on the company’s business and strategy from the major aviation consultants Aviado.
“The board looks forward to seeing what they may recommend,” he said.

 
“The company has also been the subject of a report from board and governance consultants appointed by the Bank of PNG to look at the board functioning and corporate governance of all companies in which superannuation companies such as Nasfund have substantial holdings, and some recommendations from those consultants to further improve the company’s governance are being implemented.

 
“While there are these positives, certain challenges remained in 2017 due in particular to the weak economic conditions and deteriorating exchange rates.

 
“The falling world commodity prices of the past four years have seen exploration activity remain low and as a result the charter business was flat.”

 

Source: The National

Mori invites NZ to invest in agro sector

COMMERCE and Industry Minister Wera Mori has invited New Zealand to invest in Papua New Guinea’s agriculture sector.

 
Mori went to New Zealand to seek investments in the renewable sector, seek support and networking between co-operatives in PNG and New Zealand in agro industries.

 
He held talks with Cooperatives Business New Zealand, Fonterra Dairies and the New Zealand Business Council.

 
PNG provides the largest market for Fonterra’s dairy products.

 
Mori said Fonterra was looking at increasing its global market share, and was an opportunity for PNG to create the incentives which would attract such a large global player in agribusiness and co-operatives in PNG.

 
Fonterra produces dairy products in New Zealand with 10,500 co-operative farmers.
It is willing to extend its social responsibility to PNG through its one-milk one-child per day programme next year.

 
“Fonterra Dairy produces 22 billion litres of milk annually to supply two billion of its customers around the world,” Mori said.

 
“Such opportunities should be considered in the Sepik plain, Markham Valley, Central and parts of the Highlands.”

 
Co-operative Business New Zealand chief executive officer Craig Presland invited Mori and other government institutions to participate at the week-long summit on Feb 27 next year in Auckland.

Source: The National

Photo Credit: Loop PNG.

Govt signs deal to grow cotton

THE Government’s fact-finding mission to India has resulted in an agreement on mutual agricultural investment prospects.

 
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allen said a draft agreement was with the government of India and would be sent to Papua New Guinea for further input and signing.
Allen said a new agriculture prospect for PNG highlighted in the draft was the commercialised farming of cotton in Papua New Guinea.

 
He said apart from cotton, commodities such as wheat/grain, rice and livestock were prospect areas for PNG.

 
Allen said it would seek to capture two focus areas where the Indian government could assist agriculture development in PNG.

 
They include the development of a central seeds bank for PNG and research and technology assistance for the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute.

 
Allen said he proposed to the director of the Indian Agriculture Institute to have Papua New Guineans undergo training at the institute.

 
Also, an agriculture machinery manufacturer has shown interest in training mechanics in repairing equipment and also set up shop in Papua New Guinea for businesses to buy equipment.

 
Moreover, Allen said Papua New Guinea has much to learn from India as it has developed largely due to agriculture.

Source: The National

Officers take lead to change agriculture practice

Source: Loop PNG
9/12/2017

Officers working for Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) are in the forefront of a shift in agriculture practice in the country, says project manager Potaisa Hombunaka.

 

“It was clear at the just concluded first national inaugural agriculture summit in Port Moresby that the PPAP modality is strong in governance, transparency and accountability, hence delivery of project to the farmers is feasible,” he said.

 

“Be happy because you’re in the forefront of a move in the country.”

 

Hombunaka was talking to 45 extension officers attending a weeklong training at Aiyura coffee research and growers services station in Eastern Highlands on Friday, 23 November, 2017.

 

The officers work for 35 productive partners for Coffee Industry Corporation’s industry rehabilitation program under PPAP coffee component. They were trained on how best to train farmers outside of the conventional extension service practice.

 

“Our current conventional extension service is just about training farmers on technical applications on production aspect of agriculture and we leave the farmers high and dry after the training,” said Hombunaka.

 

“The extension service we were using was relevant at that time, but there was really nothing between connecting us and growers.

 

“It’s time to phase out the conventional extension service system. Production has not gone up.”

 

Quoting Albert Einstein, Hombunaka said “We cannot continue to do the same old things and expect different results”.

 

He said the PPAP modality with a strong emphasis on ‘productive partnership’ has been tried elsewhere in the world and is the way forward for agriculture development in the country.

 

The engagement of close to 400 extension officers and field assistants is building back the extension service program. These officers are working in 10 provinces namely Eastern Highlands, Simbu, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Enga, Southern Highlands, Morobe, Madang (Simbai and Kovon LLG), East New Britain and East Sepik.

 

The number of coffee extension officers has reduced significantly over the years and CIC, through the PPAP intervention, is working towards returning extension officers to re-connect farmers or producers who are important stakeholders in the coffee value chain.

 

One difference is the extension officers are from the project area hence after the project ends, all the knowledge and experiences are left in the area as opposed to recruiting extension officers from outside.

 

The coffee rehabilitation is a CIC project through Department of Agriculture & Livestock. It is financed by a loan facility from World Bank, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) with support funding from PNG Government.

 

(Extension officers with CIC and PPAP coffee training facilitators)

Author: Press release

PNG Logistics To Benefit From Transport Infrastructure Upgrades

4th December 2017
[This Papua new Guinea economic update was produced by Oxford Business Group.]
 
 
In June the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved $866.5m in funding for the upgrade and maintenance of the Highlands Highway, one of PNG’s main logistical arteries.
 
The project will see the rehabilitation of large stretches of the 1200-km route, improving connectivity and road safety. As well as ADB financing, funding will come from other development partners and the PNG government, bringing the overall investment to just over $1bn for the 10-year project.
 
The upgrade has national importance, as the highway runs from the main port of Lae through mountainous regions and into the Enga Province, serving around 40% of the population.
 
In addition to roadworks, the investment programme will support the establishment of logistics platforms and services for agricultural production, as well as help modernise other forms of transport infrastructure.
 
 
# Highway work to support logistics and export growth#
 
Improved access to the Highlands region should support the growth and competitiveness of the logistics sector, and back up government plans to boost exports.
 
At present, the imbalance between inbound and outbound cargo has been cited as a key contributor to slow turnaround times and the high costs endured by freight carriers.
 
Many planes and ships bringing goods to the country often leave either empty or carrying exports at volumes lower than their capacity, which affects local logistics costs.
 
According to the World Bank, the average cost of exporting goods from PNG was $1335 in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, considerably higher than Singapore ($460), Indonesia ($572) and Australia ($1200).
 
To address this issue, it is hoped that improvements to national transport infrastructure outlined in the long-term development plan Vision 2050 will pave the way for the cheaper transport costs, which could unlock growth opportunities in targeted agri-processing and industrial sectors.
 
“The upgraded Highlands Highway will not only improve connectivity, but also help drive inclusive economic growth,” David Hill, country director of the ADB, told OBG.
 
“Although more infrastructure investment is needed to improve transport links across the country, the recently approved 10-year Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Programme will connect PNG’s Highlands – a region with a lot of mining activity and vast opportunities for agri-businesses – with the country’s most important port, Lae, which was recently upgraded by ADB financing.”
 
 
# Extraction industries continue to provide short-term logistics opportunities#
 
While government plans to improve infrastructure and diversify the economy are not expected to translate into benefits for the logistics sector immediately, in the near term operators stand to receive a boost from proposed projects in the extraction industries.
 
Such projects are major drivers of logistics sector growth, according to Mark Schell, country manager of international carrier DHL Express, who noted that logistics services experienced high levels of growth during the development stage of recent large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) undertakings, only to fall back to pre-construction levels once work was completed.
 
“When these large projects are under development you can expect growth of 10-40%; but once completed, the following year can see a reduction of 10% year-on-year,” he told OBG.
 
In terms of potential developments, French energy giant Total is reportedly looking to further develop reserves in the Elk-Antelope gas field, while ExxonMobil is assessing the feasibility of a proposed third LNG train at the PNG LNG project.
 
In the mining industry, the planned $2.3bn Wafi-Golpu copper and gold mine is expected to come on-line in 2020, and production at the Chinese-backed Frieda River copper-gold project in the Western Province is slated to start in 2024. 
Via: Loop PNG
 
 

Commodity Boards warned

 

23rd November 2017.

Commodity Boards in PNG have been warned to perform or else will not receive funding from 2019 onward.

 

Planning and Monitoring Minister, Richard Maru, issued the warning on Wednesday during the inaugural National Agriculture Summit.

 

Maru said he wanted to see a high performance culture as well as good governance practise instilled in all commodity boards.

 

He said millions of kina had been squandered by some commodity boards despite continuous government funding over the years.

 

Minister Maru said under his watch, any commodity board that does not perform well and is not accountable for the funds it uses will not receive any further funding after 2018.

 

“We must overhaul the boards. And we will only support that boards that perform deliver value, have a good corporate governance structure, and can show us the funds are managed well.

 

“Only performers will continue to receive government funding.

 

“If we are funding you and your industry is declining in output and production we have a problem. We should get that resource from you and give it to another sector that’s performing,” said Maru.

-Author: Cedric Patjole

-Via Loop PNG.-

National Agriculture Summit Underway

The Inaugural National Agriculture Summit commenced on Monday.

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, opened the summit to indicate his Government’s commitment to really improve the sector.

 

The Summit was also attended by Government Ministers and Parliamentary Leaders.

 

In his Opening Remarks, Agriculture Minister, Benny Allan, said this summit gives the opportunity for the private investors both large and small to talk, and the Government to listen.

 

He said the Government has come up with policies for the Agriculture Sector, but has not sat down with the players to listen to them.

 

Referring to the theme of the Agriculture Summit of “Unlocking the Power of Agriculture for PNG”, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, reiterated its importance and reaffirms his government’s commitment in the sector as captured in the Alotau Accord.

 

“We’ve seen PNG’s Economy go into vast cycles for quite a while, largely because we over depend ourselves on one sector of the Economy (resources). And it has serve PNG well, but I think we’re too complaisant and we are not realising all the other potentials that we have in our country. Especially, when all the Commodity Prices of Oil and Gas goes down, our economy goes down.”

 

Representatives from all sectors of Agriculture packed the Lamana Conference Room to be part of this first ever organised National Agriculture Summit.

 

Presentations are based on each Agricultural Business and investment and the challenges they face including solutions to assist the Government improve the sector.

 

The conclusion of the summit will assist the Government through the Department of Agriculture, come up with a Medium Term Agriculture Development Plan.

 

The Summit will continue today(Monday) and will end on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Author: Charmaine Poriambep of Loop PNG

New Infrastructure Projects with China will Change Lives – Direct Investment by China Railway Group in PNG Economy

 

Media Statement via Prime Minister’s Office PNG

Monday, November 20, November 2017

The Government of Papua New Guinea has signed a serious of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of China and the China Railway company that will deliver a number of new infrastructure projects in the Highlands.

 

Witnessing the signing of the MOU today in Port Moresby, the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, said the new projects will have direct positive impacts on the lives of people in Eastern and Western Highlands provinces.

 

“These projects will enhance agriculture, roads and water supply in parts of the Highlands will improve lives and help people to be more active in the economy.

 

“China is one of our strongest development partners, and this direct investment is an example of the huge confidence that China and Chinese companies have in Papua New Guinea.

 

“Despite the challenges in the global economy in recent years, the outlook for the Papua New Guinea economy is very positive and we thank our partners for their commitment to our country.

 

“The projects that we initiated today will be delivered in some of the most remote parts of our country where there is a need to improve connectivity and services.

 

“These projects are taking place as part of the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative that is creating more efficient trade corridors between the Asia-Pacific and Western Asia.

 

“As this initiative grows we are seeing infrastructure improvements across many developing countries.

 

“At the eastern end of the initiative, Papua New Guinea is deriving benefits that will strengthen capacity to trade across borders.”

 

The Prime Minister thanked the President of the China Railway International Group, Mr. Zhang Zongyan, for visiting Papua New Guinea to see for himself where support can be allocated.

 

“I thank the Government of China and the China Railway Company for their ongoing commitment to Papua New Guinea.

 

“The projects we have agreed on today will deliver positive change for people in many towns and villages.

 

“Your support for Papua New Guinea will be remembered long into the future.

 

“I look forward to further discussing these and other initiatives with President Xi Jinping when he arrives in Papua New Guinea for APEC next year.”

 

The three MOU’s signed today are:
– China-PNG Integrated Agriculture Industrial Park;
– The High Priority Economic Roads Project;
– Goroka Town Water Supply Upgrade Project.

 

The signing of MOU’s was witnessed by Prime Minister O’Neill, Works Minister, Michael Nali, and Lands minister, Benny Allen.

 

Photos:PM O’Neill meets with officials from China Railroad Group and Chinese Government before the signing the MOUs.

PNG’s Self-Sufficiency Drive Offers Openings For Agri-Industry

 
 
 
October 31, 2017
Via: Post-Courier
 
 
After being returned to office following the National Elections in Papua New Guinea earlier this year, the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has stepped up its drive to improve food sustainability and reduce foreign exchange outflows.
 
The administration’s focus on import replacement and food self-sufficiency should create opportunities for the food processing industry, in particular, encouraging investment in downstream capacity.
 
The government plans to place investment funds, to be dispersed through the Supplementary Budget, with the state-owned agriculture investment company, Kumul Agriculture, which can then partner with local and international investors.
Richard Maru, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, told local media in September that the entity is soon expected to start receiving funds to invest in the sector.
 
According to local media, the plan to establish a state-owned investment vehicle for agriculture was first mentioned in 2015.
 
Government to mobilise investment funds, target agriculture. In particular, the government is looking to curb the island nation’s sizeable food import bill – reported to be as high as PGK4bn ($1.3bn) per year – by expanding the agriculture sector.
While PNG is self-sufficient in many fresh or semi-processed foodstuffs – rice being the key exception – it has to import much of its processed food, both for human consumption and livestock feed.
Speaking to local media at the end of August, Charles Abel, DeputyPrime Minister and Treasurer, said that the rice import bill was the second-highest consumer of foreign exchange in PNG, after the fuel import bill.
Loi Bakani, governor of the Bank of PNG, also highlighted import costs as being a top concern.
“In particular, I am concerned about food imports, because it constitutes the highest demand for foreign exchange and it is not matched by any foreign exchange revenue from food exports,” he told an investment conference in Sydney, Australia, in mid-September.
 
Courting downstream agriculture investment to generate export potential
In addition to boosting primary production, PNG is seeking investors in downstream value-added processing, which could create export potential.
Palm oil and coffee, among others, have been cited as examples, with processed goods both easier to freight than fresh, and able to generate far higher returns.
“We have water and very fertile land,” Mr Maru told local media in mid-September.
“What we have to do now is to mobilise the land, and then find investors who have the technology and the capital to partner (with) us to start investment in commercial agriculture in a very significant way.”
 
Recent investment in value-added growth areas. The agro-processing industry is already seeing an increase in investments that should help reduce the food import bill and improve sustainability.
Agri-business firm, Innovative Agro Industries, is currently developing a K130m ($40.6m) dairy farm and processing facility outside Port Moresby, with production set to begin in November. When fully operational next year, the 5m-litre annual output from the plant is expected to cut up to K400m ($124.7m), or 10%, from PNG’s import bill.
An even larger investment is taking shape in West Sepik Province, around 30km from the Indonesian border. Chinese investors signed a memorandum of understanding last December with the PNG Government to develop a $3.8bn industrial park. Along with an industrial hub for processing steel and cement, the project – described as a long-term venture – features a processing cluster focused on fish, cassava, tropical spices and timber.
Fish is an area where PNG has significant potential for value-added processing. The country’s 2.5m-sq-km exclusive economic zone is home to roughly 18% of the global tuna supply, according to a 2013 report by Pacific Tuna Forum, and an estimated 750,000 tons of the fish is caught each year in PNG waters.
While this represents a raw value of around $1.5bn, most of the value creation occurs during processing, which takes place offshore. Countries such as the Philippines and China generated an estimated K30bn ($9.4bn) in added value by processing raw tuna exports from PNG, the Manufacturers Council of PNG reported.
 
Agro-processing agenda part of broader bid to industrialise
Promoting value-added agriculture forms part of a broader national effort to increase industrial capacity in PNG.
Speaking at a recent conference on financial inclusion and innovation, Wera Mori, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, said the government aimed to restructure the economy so that 70% of gross domestic product (GDP) was generated by sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, with the latter three all having strong downstream potential.
To help achieve this goal, Mr Mori said the government would move to improve access to credit, introduce regulatory and supervisory reforms, and further promote micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises.
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