Festival launched to see betel nut as commodity

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A FESTIVAL will be staged in September to support a submission made to the Government to have betel nut recognised as a commodity in the country, an official says.
President of the Mekeo-Kuni local level government John Apini said the festival was to also appreciate the efforts of the National Capital District and the city residents in keeping the city clean.
“The festival is going to be staged with a banner showing support to (Governor) Parkop’s Clean City Campaign,” he said.
He said betel nut should be seen as a trading commodity and not just as rubbish in the city.
The festival theme is “Lukautim buai, buai bai lukautim you”.
“We cannot only see betel nut in a negative way, it can be seen in a positive way as well,” he said.
The Betel nut festival is the initiative of the people of Mekeo in partnership with the PNG National Cultural Commission and the Theatre Arts Students of the University of PNG.
“This festival will also help the committee and partners to advocate on cleanliness not only to the sellers but the chewers as well,” Apini said.
The launching of the festival was held at Veifa’a Village in Mekeo, Central last Friday.
“In the past, betel nut was used in the Hiri trade to signify a relationship among tribes and the people,” Apini said.
Attending the launching was the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Emil Tamur and officials from the National Cultural Commission and the National Museum and Gallery.
Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo was also present.
Each committed K50,000 to the festival committee.


  • Beatle nut has overall net cost to society. Short term gain for sellers but an eye sore, filt and disgusting addictive habit for people to conceal bad breath. Come on PNG simply brush your teeth.
    Health risks are far greater and real in spreading disease by public spitting, mouth cancer for chewers and possible trigger for heart attack for people with underlying health conditions.
    Make banana, kaukau, taro, yam and other crops as commodity that also have far great export market potential than beatle nut.
    Get real Mekeos….grow other crops on your fertile land and forget beatle nuts. It creates false economy.

  • “Commercialize” ,how that sounds to the people of PNG. Define the word “commercialize’ of betelnut . I concur with Titus.Andia. Negative effects far outways the good the poster mentions about Betelnut.

    I suggest do study on Asians standard of commercialization of betelnut ,in particular Indonesia. This should help define commercialization of betelnut in PNG, otherwise , think about other trading commodities that help your health and earn you living.

  • Betelnut has been part of the Asian & Pacific cultural heriitage for so long. In PNG it has been a practise in the coastal and Island commnunities. However it has been recently (approx: 20 years) been introduced to the highlands population which comprised of about 70% of PNG population without educating the cultural values, restriction, and other connotations attached with buai.

    The betenut abuse was identified quite lately after much damage has been done to and people to the environment and properties. People invloved in the trade especially buyers and sellers should have been properly educated in both cultural values and socio-economic values. But now we have been angered by the ingorance by not addressing much ealier. Buai is part of people’s livelyhood and no gocvernment will put a blacked ban and expect miracles to happen. This is absolute maddness.

    Mekeo Buai Festival is a step forward in the right direction. I see it as a platform for intellecutual discussions, stategic planning & management, socio-economic impact assessment & monitoring approaches etc…

    A nation wide Agressive Awareness must be conducted by the National Government in partnership with Provincial Government and Churches to educate people on the abuse and health risked associated.

    Mekeo Buai Festival can be the best forum for discussion in finding a lasting soluation that can benefit both the growers and consumers. Buai (betelnut) has many usefull and successful commercial byproducts opportunties PNG has not yet discovered. We must learn about the Betelnut industry from countries like Taiwan, Thailands, Myammar, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and China.

    We must consider the fact that buai (betelnut) can be regulated and commercialized. We just need to spent time and money into proper research & planning and come up with the best National Policy.

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