EU official: Programme does not charge membership fees


THE European Union-funded Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade (Streit) programme in Papua New Guinea does not charge membership fees, says an official.
EU Ambassador to PNG Jernej Videtic said allegations circulating on social media that there were registration fees and charges for cocoa seedlings were not true.
“The fact that the allegations perpetrated by such messages are false is easy to demonstrate: EU-Streit project has never charged any membership or registration fees and does not charge anything for seedlings,” he said.
“In fact EU-Streit buys clone seedlings at K3.50 per seedling from the PNG Cocoa Board registered nurseries and distribute to farmers.
“The farmers are provided with 100 seedlings rootstock, so they can multiply further.”
Maprik development authority chief executive officer Joshua Himina said on social media that they wanted to ban EU from entering the district.
“EU Streit is a total waste,” he said.
“I see this programme failing before my eyes because they are doing nothing new compared to what we are already doing; building nurseries and distributing seedlings – it’s nothing new.
“The value chain is not complete.
“I was hoping they would have set up something tangible such as a chocolate factory or vanilla processing plant from the K300 million.”
Videtic said the allegations circulated on the internet were false and defamatory.
“We can assume that these allegations are politically motivated, being an attempt to undermine a project that is supported by the East Sepik government,” he said.
“This is the second time such allegations were made.
“In the past, this person (who made the claims on social media) was put in contact with the EU- Streit project management and he was presented with all necessary explanation and clarification.”