Investing in research vital, says minister


WHEN we focus on growing or developing an industry, we must also ensure that the same attention is given to investing in research, a cabinet minister says.
Minister for Agriculture and Livestock John Simon made the statement in the presence of heads of Kokonas Indastri Koporeisen (KIK) while on an official visit to the organisation’s Stuart Research Station located in Murunas in Madang. The research station was established under the PNG Cocoa and Coconut Research Institute to conduct breeding and evaluation studies as well as agronomy and entomology research.
According to studies, copra is the fourth most significant agricultural cash crop of Papua New Guinea.
An estimated 2.6 million people are engaged in coconut activities in PNG to either generate income and/or as food.
Minister Simon arrived in Madang last week as part of his focus on visiting all major projects and programmes under the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) to see for himself the status
of the programmes and projects.
He said research institutes were important as they ensured smooth operation in terms of the development and growth of an industry.
“I decided to carry out these visits to get straight to the core of many issues being faced in this great industry.
“There are many issues such as why plantations are being run down. Why there is no growth and development of crops.
“In 2011 it was established that copra and coconut prices were going downhill, Simon said.