Copra farmers call for help

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday October 14th, 2013

 SOME copra producers in Milne Bay are losing interest in the industry because of the drop in price from K1 to 70toea per kilogramme this year.

And they are seeking the assistance of MPs in the province to back them and the industry financially.

According to copra buyers, Alotau Enterprises and Samarai-Murua Exports, the four MPs were supposed to contribute K500,000 each to subsidise the copra price.

But only Alotau MP Charles Abel and Esa’ala MP Davis Steven have given K500,000 each to help the copra producers.

Samarai-Murua MP Gordon Wesley has given K250,000 and Kiriwina-Goodenough MP Douglas Tomriesa is yet to pay his K500,000.

West Fergusson copra producer, Haiaba Manimua, who transports his produce to Alotau, said it was unfair that only two MPs had paid their shares. 

He said it was unfair to the producers from Esa’ala and Alotau.

The copra price dropped to 70toea in May and has stayed there since. 

“The export volume has gradually dropped since May, which was at about 2,300 tonnes. 

“This month it is expected to drop to 1,300 tonnes,” Manimua said.

Gregory Madumadu, from Goodenough Island, urged Tomriesa to pay up his share because they felt bad about benefitting from other MPs’ contributions.