Chickens give Abel reason to crow


DEPUTY Prime Minister Charles Abel visited the Niugini Table Birds and Three Roses Flour operations of the nationally-owned food business Mainland Holdings in Lae yesterday.
Accompanied by Governor Ginson Soanu and Finschhafen MP Renbo Paita, Abel was impressed with the scale of the operations, locals employed, and in particular the participation of 281 chicken outgrower farmers.
Abel said that it was fantastic to see a landowner company like Mainland generating jobs, supporting SMEs throughout growers, and developing import replacements.
“Growing our own stock feed to support a local poultry meat and egg industry and piggery and beef industries is a huge step forward,” he said,
“It creates jobs, supports national food security, saves foreign exchange and lowers the price of food.”
Mainland Holdings thanked the Government for its support to local industry by maintaining a minimum tariff on chicken imports and a tariff on imported retail packed flour.
This had encouraged investment into expansion of the flour mill and encouraged the growth of local sorghum to replace wheat grain imports.
Mainland Holdings currently imports over 60,000 tonnes of wheat for stockfeed into PNG each year.
Through its efforts to move into farming, it will this year have its inaugural harvest of 10,000 tonnes of sorghum and looks to double this amount in 2020.