Export agency needed: Minister


THERE needs to be a central export agency for commodities in the agriculture sector, starting with cocoa and coffee, Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon says.
He said on Wednesday that the Government needed to be able to also do marketing and exporting.
Simon said he would talk with exporters before Christmas about a proposal for the Government to start doing marketing and exporting either coffee or cocoa. “We have one central export agency, so all the coffee is going to come to it and the cocoa, so that we can patch that market price, because in the market today, it is about quantity and quality,” he said.
“There are buyers in China who want 20,000 tonnes of coffee, PNG produces about 50,000 tonnes but I can’t give 20,000 tonnes because my coffee is being distributed by all the exporters.
“If I have a central export agency, I will bring all the coffee together, then I can give them the coffee.”
Simon said CIC would set prices domestically.
“Coffee price is doing pretty well right now, top grade green bean coffee is trading about K15 to K17 or K18 FOB (free on board), and I am really surprised exporters are paying less than that to our farmers,” he said.
He said PNG’s problem was that when the price went up exporters did not pass that on to the farmers and when the price was down they also paid less for beans.
Simon said this disregard for hardworking farmers had seen many reluctant to continue growing coffee.
“The real scenario should have been that when the price goes up, the farmers should also gain, when the price drops, it comes down together.”
Simon said exporters and farmers need to had a mutually beneficial relationship in order for the industry to grow and prosper. “When the price goes up, the exporters are very happy, they are increasing their profit margins and that is all they
are doing, and we as the Government agency, we are more concerned about the farmers,” he said.
“I want to change the whole export policy, there must be a control, the Government have not been involved in marketing, so we could not support our farmers and control pricing.”