Investments in sector rising


Indonesia and the Philippines are ready to invest in the agriculture sector.
Delegations from the two countries were in Port Moresby last week and held separate talks with officials from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock led by Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava.
The Indonesian delegation was led by two members of parliament, Fauzih Amro, and Bertu Merlas, while the Philippine delegation, comprising of over 20 officials from government and private sector, was led by the Secretary for Agriculture, Emmanuel Pinol.
Officials from both countries said PNG has abundant land, fertile soil, good climate, and many other opportunities for agriculture development.
The Indonesian officials said their visit was to discuss possible cooperation in agriculture and trade and to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
Their main interest was in trying to secure agriculture exports from PNG. In return, they would supply rice seeds, agricultural machinery and equipment for agriculture farming activities and provide agriculture training opportunities.
They were also keen to assist in providing advice on how to turn agricultural waste into products that could be turned into many other uses.
Indonesia is also interested in importing vegetables, especially potatoes.
Ila’ava said PNG was currently aiming to increase its production of coffee, cocoa, oil palm, rubber, coconut, spices, livestock and other agricultural commodities, and was ready to discuss improvements to the agricultural industries.
He said the team was looking at opportunities to boost its exports and earn foreign exchange.
The Philippine delegation came at the invitation of the PNG Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Benny Allan, to further discuss investment opportunities for rice production.
The Philippine officials said they were willing to assist in developing the rice industry by introducing modern and mechanised rice farming technology.
Their immediate objective is to establish a 5ha techno-demo rice farm for the Apec Leaders’ Summit later this year. They also plan to establish an 80-100ha techno-demo farm to showcase rice farming technology that can be adopted in PNG.
The possible site for the 5ha farm is at the Pacific Adventist University outside Port Moresby.
The Philippine officials said if the proposal was agreed to, the benefits would include creation of jobs, savings on rice imports, reduced price of rice, improve food security and encourage private sector investments.
They are ready to send experts to prepare the 5ha demo farm, and asked DA L officials to secure and identify suitable land for the bigger project.
“We want to help you develop your rice industry, transfer modern technology, share technology, and we are willing to import rice from PNG to the Philippines.
“Rice is a big business, and offers many opportunities,” Pinol said.
He said Philippines was willing to assist in revitalising the coconut industry in PNG, especially in downstream processing and value adding activities.
Ila’ava said he appreciated the offer from the Philippines delegation and looked forward to more fruitful partnerships in enhancing agriculture growth in PNG.
The Philippine delegation also announced their donation of 1000 bags of rice and a container-load of tinned fish products for the earthquake victims.
This contribution is from the officials representing government agencies and private companies.

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