Offshore markets for fresh food needed

Farming

THE government needs to train agricultural specialists to become fresh produce market brokers to search for offshore food trade opportunities to enable local farmers export local food crops, a farmer says.
Daulo-based Agro-Food (PNG) Ltd Chairman Ignatius Gena said subsistence agriculture has been the backbone in the country over the years instead the market to export the fresh produce was scarce.
If not, the marketing was conducted within the country alone instead to export them overseas.
“The prospects to export our organic garden crops to Asian countries, Europe, smaller Pacific Islands and North America is immense but was neglected, hence the need for agricultural food specialists to become market brokers to negotiate export procedures,” Gena said.
“These market brokers should be based with our overseas trade missions to negotiate and promote our fresh produce and its qualities.”
Gena said to ensure the reality, the new government should create a fresh food market development authority (FFMDA) by an act of parliament to conduct business.
While the food production development authority (FPDA) sponsored by New Zealand Government to work with organized farmer cooperative groups and encourage market development, quality and post harvest control including food processing.
“This particular area in food chain production is a rare sleeping giant that can contribute immensely, similarly to cocoa and coffee to feed the pockets of rural populations through garden economy.”
Gena was in the agro-food business in particular food processing, marketing and export since 2010.
He worked with Department of Agriculture and Livestock and Coffee Industry Corporation over 20 years as a food specialist.
He is based in Daulo, Goroka, Eastern Highlands.

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