Tag Archives: Agriculture

Officers take lead to change agriculture practice

Source: Loop PNG

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’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.

30 Million Hectares Intact: Tomuriesa



BY MATTHEW VARI of Post-Courier

PAPUA New Guinea currently has 30 million hectares of untouched pristine rainforest cover in the country.

This does not include an additional six million hectares currently subjected to human activities.

Minister for Forests, Douglas Tomuriesa announced the figures for the country’s forest inventory at the launch of the country’s National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) 2017-2027.

“I am pleased to inform the gathering today that about 75 per cent or 30 million hectares of our forest are still intact with very little or no human disturbances,” he said.

He said maintenance of natural resources should be recognised by the global community, and the priority of government rests with the wellbeing of the people, who own almost all the forests.

“The international community has time to involve Papua New Guinea and is able to talk with us about elements of REDD+ because of the abundance and quality of our forests.”

“We are thankful that out of these efforts and outcomes of performance-based approaches in the NRS, PNG will qualify for the revenue flows from the international climate change funds.”

“Of the 46 million hectares that constitute the total landmass of PNG, 36 million hectares, or 78 per cent, is under forest cover,” he said.

He said the country is aware of its global responsibility to protect the biodiversity of its natural forests, but other countries take on the approach.

“Our forests are critical to our development from biodiversity as well as from our source of economy perspective.”

“In PNG, forests are essential to our environment, our economy, and our society.”

Annually, the forest sector contributes significantly to the country’s GDP, and government revenues, and is a source for forest resource owners who constitute 85 per cent of the population in the rural areas.

The minister pointed out the main group in the country that needs convincing to maintain forests remains, are the landowners.

Announcements On SABL To Be Made This Week



BY MATTHEW VARI of Post-Courier

A major announcement will be made this week on special agricultural and business lease (SABL), says Lands and Physical Planning Minister, Justin Tkatchenko.


These leases have been the subject of much debate both within and abroad in addressing the issues of illegally acquired land leases under the guise of the lease arrangement.


Mr Tkatchenko said since his appointment to the ministry, he has ensured that a high-level committee dealt with all the leases.


“As you know, we have set up the committee to go through every SABL file and the decision from the commission of inquiry.”


“With that, I will be making some very strong and firm and positive decisions on the leases that have already been investigated by the committee,” he said.


“There are some serious matters from these SABLs that have come up and the country will be very happy because we have had enough.”


He said there has been stealing of public, customary, and other land, where no consultations had ever been done, but his ministry would get to the bottom of the issues before the New Year.


“To all the customary landowners, the ILGs, bear with me. We are going to make sure that before the end of this year that most of these issues are resolved.”


Tkatchenko assured the landowners that the committee in place is a serious one that sits every week to deliberate.


“The committee is not just a giaman (fake) committee set up just to make us look good. They have to work and get outcomes that pleases the situation at hand.”


Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced in November last year Cabinet’s decision to revoke all SABL titles.


Despite the decision, concerns were raised on the slow response of the department responsible in carrying out the revocation process.

Government Cuts Rice Imports



Annually the government is spending K600million to import rice.


The government plans to cut the import of rice despite an increase of 5 percent annually in consumption.


IT will take at least five years for Papua New Guinea to start producing and exporting its own rice and for the eight million people to consume.


Agriculture Minister Benny Allen in his response to Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika said there are at least five companies that are in the process of producing rice locally – one of which is Naime Rice.


Minister Allen was taken to task by Mr Pelika during Question Time in Parliament about the Government’s plans to have rice grown locally and help with job creation for provinces like Menyamya.

K4 Billion Spent On Food Imports Annually

Source: Post – Courier




PNG continues to spend K4 billion in food imports each year announced Minister for National Planning & Monitoring and Member for Yangoru-Saussi Richard Maru recently.



“But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Government will focus on replacing food imports from here onwards and the Sepik Plains is high on our list of priorities,” said Maru.



Maru said this after a recent visit to the Sepik plains with Israeli investors set to develop East Sepik through an Innovative Agro-Industry. The Innovative Agro Industry will develop an egg-laying farm, broiler meat farm, and grain production. The developer will also establish a modern cocoa plantation using Israeli technology that will produce 400 to 500 percent more yield than an average cocoa plantation.



CEO of the PNG Cocoa Board, Mr. Kautu Boutua, said with the partnership of Innovative Agro-Industry, the Board is keen to see a different result with the new technology and a new way of approaching agriculture development.



“LR Group is waiting for the Government’s equity contribution of K14 million in the joint venture between the State and the LR Group before work commences. We are going to include that in the Supplementary Budget in the next two weeks,” Minister Maru said.



The project is expected to create thousands of jobs for locals and promote wealth creation. The project will also consist of a state-of-the-art training facility that will provide training and extension services to all the farmers in the area.

Investor committed to Sepik Plains Project

Via Loop PNG

20th September 2017

Israeli investor, Innovative Agro Industry, has assured the Government and the people of East Sepik of its commitment to invest and develop several agriculture and farming projects on the Sepik Plains.


Chief executive officer of the Innovative Agro Industry, Lior Crystal, was part of a delegation that flew over to the Sepik Plains on Monday, Sept 18, 2017.


Other parties on the aerial inspection were the Australian High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency Bruce Davis, and the CEO of the PNG Cocoa Board, Kautu Boutua.


The delegation was led by the Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, and Member for Yangoru-Saussia, Richard Maru.


The delegation was given a bird’s-eye view of the proposed site of the chicken and grain project under the Sepik Economic Zone (SEZ).

Crystal described the Sepik Plains as a beautiful landmass sitting there, waiting for development.


“I am here on behalf of the LR Group, Innovative Agro Industry, stating that we are committed to the development of this land. We are not only coming to develop, we are coming as an investor. We are putting our money where our mouth is,” Crystal said.


The Innovative Agro Industry will develop an egg laying farm, broiler meat farm and grain production.


The developer will also establish a modern cocoa plantation using Israeli technology that will produce 400 to 500 percent more yield than an average cocoa plantation.


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