Govt told to allocate more funds to coffee


EAST Sepik Governor Allan Bird says the K5 million allocated in the Supplementary Budget to address the outbreak of the coffee berry borer is a slap in the face for coffee growers.
Bird said the threat of the coffee berry borer was a serious problem that affected more than three million people.
He called on the Government to allocate more funding.
“Allocating a lousy K5 million is just insufficient to address the issue and I don’t think the Government is taking the coffee berry borer seriously,” he said.
“If we are going to allocate K5 million for a problem that will affect over three million Papua New Guineans, then we have a serious issue here.
“We do not budget extra money to purchase pesticides and chemicals to address the problem. We have just allocated money to do the inspection.
“This is like giving the people who are growing coffee, a bucket of water to fight house fire.”
He said in East Sepik, if coffee died out, “we still got cocoa and vanilla”.
“But in the highlands, it’s only coffee. I want the prime minister and the Government to review that because no one is speaking on behalf of the farmers.
“I want the Government to review this decision and allocate some more money to address these coffee berry borer.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock was on top of the issue.
“We have started by allocating K5 million.
“That is for the balance of this year which is two to three months to go. But we will make some more allocations in the 2018 budget,” O’Neill said.

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