Be fair to farmers, exporters told


EXPORTERS of commodities have been told to be fair when buying the produce from local farmers.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon yesterday warned exporters that if they did not adjust their way of doing business then the government entities would step in to buy directly from farmers.
“The world price is just a guide of what the price should be,” Simon said.
“I would like the exporters to know one thing about Papua New Guinea. Our coffee, cocoa, vanilla or whatever it is, it’s great, one of the best in the world but it does not fetch the price it should be fetching.”
He asked why coffee (to drink) was expensive in countries that did not grow coffee.
“Usually the cup price do not reach the farmers.
“I am encouraging my exporters to export directly to the market. Export directly to the factory and get that price and give it to me.
“Why continue to point us to the world market price?
“If you are going to do that then leave the industry and I will do it myself.”
Simon said next year the department would come up with a policy for every raw agricultural product to be exported by the State.
“The state has to get involved. Yes, exporters you will export but you need to export processed coffee, cocoa, vanilla, copra.
“It is our interest that the farmers are happy. The government state agencies are not about profit, it’s about the farmers.
“Farmers should be receiving 10 per cent of the cup price, not the market price.”
Simon said the country’s agricultural sector alone could bring in around K20 billion in revenue.
“We are capable of doing it.
“My appeal to the commodity boards is to set up export or marketing desks.
“Farmers will have to also be consistent in quality of commodities they produce for sale.”