THE rural coastal communities in PNG will now be given the chance to market their catches overseas under a new programme called the Coastal Fisheries Development programme initiated by the Somare-Temu Government.
Approved by the National Executive Council recently, the aim of the five-year K68 million programme is geared towards building the capacity of the rural communities and encouraging the resource owners to be entrepreneurs and not just mere spectators.
Fisheries Minister Ben Semri said: “The new agency will be an extension of the Government to provide the much needed services to the people along with appropriate advice on new fishing methods, management training, equipment and facilities and business enterprising skills.”
Realising the plight of the 97% rural communities who have missed out on such opportunities and services, Mr Semri said the Government saw an opportunity of equal interest by resource owners and direct foreign investment through this programme.
It is now planned that within a three to 12-mile zone of the national territorial waters, the Government will address the development of marketing opportunities and services of the 14 coastal provinces and the deployment of Fish Aggregation Devices to assist the artisan fishermen maximise production and the efficiency of fishing effort.
Mr Semri added that the Government had also approved an additional investment of K150 million through a loan financing for the development and construction of port and storage facilities strategically located in the three coastal regions which would provide an easy market access for the rural population to sell their catches.
This would mean the private sector would absorb the cost of transportation to major markets around the globe.
The programme would also create and establish a new boat building industry, reduce high cost of doing business for local entrepreneurs through subsidies, provide adequate training and create an estimated 8,000 current employment and more than 15,000 indirect employment opportunities for Papua New Guineans.
The programme is expected to be launched soon.