Growing challenge


THE demand for agricultural produce in Port Moresby has driven foreigners to venture into the small-scale agricultural sector.
The recent story of a Chinese-owned farm outside Port Moresby, supplying the big shopping centres, highlights the threat local farmers now face in terms of competition.
Foreigners have the capacity and resources to exploit areas PNG locals find challenging.
The livelihood of local farmers now faces a greater challenge and the worst has yet to come. The national Government should draw up the boundary to protect the rights of native Papua New Guineans in this area. PNG does not need foreign-owned businesses to operate small-scale agricultural ventures.
It is encouraging when foreign-owned businesses invest in large-scale agricultural businesses, as Papua New Guineans have embraced such investments. But for a foreign-owned business to venture into small-scale agro business that directly competes with the native farmers whose livelihood depends on the sale of garden produce, is a serious and dangerous trend of aggressive business practice.
To make matters even worse, local landowners around Port Moresby are selling large pieces of land to foreigners. That is another challenge we face.
The PNG government should restrict foreign-owned businesses only to large-scale industrial or innovative agricultural projects.
Growing cabbages, carrots, corns, etc, on a plot of land and supplying shops and supermarkets will soon be out of reach of the local farmers as foreign businesses take over the sector. The Government should protect the locals.

Benny Pawa

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