Govt urged to support agro-sector

Business, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 2nd, 2013

 A LACK of infrastructure and support from the National Government is affecting the agriculture sector, NGIP Agmark managing director John Nightingale says.

Nightingale said that during the Kina Asset Management Ltd’s annual meeting in Port Moresby last Friday.

“The National Government needs to support the agriculture sector in terms of research and extension programmes and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads,” he said.

“Those of us in agriculture, as a group, are disappointed in the national government because of the lack of service and support in terms of research and extension and maintenance of infrastructure like roads more roads mean more cocoa … more coffee.

“The Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea did not have a legal board and chairman in the past seven years, this shows that the government has no interest in what is going on.

“Income for more than 80% of the people in PNG comes from agriculture … if prices continue to fall that means less production, for instance copra.

“We (NGIP Agmark) have ceased copra production in own plantation, it’s too costly to do business.

“For cocoa, East New Britain’s production of cocoa has dropped from 25,000 tonnes every year to only 5,000 tonnes.

“According to the World Bank, 90% of cocoa crops in East New Britain have been destroyed by the cocoa pod borer. 

“Total ouput in the province plummeted from 22,000 tonnes in 2008 to under 4,000 last year.

“This left many families without a basic income and created a great deal of hardship,” Nightingale said.