The National, Friday November 20th, 2015
By MALUM NALU
LOCAL farmers produce enough each year to meet the needs of the K2.5 billion industry, according to Fresh Produce Development Agency chief executive officer Mark Worinu.
He was responding yesterday to questions on the current ban on vegetable imports, and the ability of local farmers to supply the market during the drought.
Worinu told The National that the major production areas were Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Morobe, Central and East New Britain.
“The collective market demand for fresh produce is 1.32 million tonnes per annum, while consumption demand is about 0.82 million tonnes per annum, allowing an annual gap of 0.50 million tonnes,” Worinu said.
“The shortfall in the present volume is not necessarily an indication of a short supply, but the inefficient and ineffective value chain systems which prevents the movement of fresh produce from farms into the markets where the demand exists. The PNG food production system is self-sustaining to feed its population.
“Fresh produce industry stakeholders including FPDA, the growers and value-chain players are aware of the existing demand and have come up with strategies to address the shortfall.
“Total market value of fresh produce in a PNG study by the FPDA is estimated at K2.5 billion, money that actually returns to the bulk of population.”
Worinu said vegetable farmers who the FPDAhad worked with from 2011 to 2015 were about13,934.
“The farmers are scattered in all four regions of the country,” Worinu said.