Make separate budget for coffee industry, says Boito

National, Normal


OBURA Wonenara MP John Boito wants the Government to make separate allocations for the growth and development of the coffee industry.
 “Half of the population of PNG or three million people rely on coffee for their livelihood.
“We want the Government to support industry, instead of putting allocations under the Agriculture Department,” Mr Boito said.
He called on acting Agriculture and Housing Minister Andrew Kumbakor to consider a separate budget for the industry should there be any supplementary budgets this year.
Mr Boito also urged Agriculture and Livestock secretary Anton Benzamin and new Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) chief executive officer Navi Anis to prepare submissions for Mr Kumbakor to take up with the Government for a separate budget to support the growth of the coffee industry.
He made the call on Tuesday in Goroko when Mr Anis officially took over the office from Ricky Mitio.
“The industry rakes in K400 million every year. How much does the Government provide for the industry every year?” he asked.
He said more than K3.8 million given to CIC last year was used for coffee rehabilitation programmes in three districts in three provinces.
Mr Boito said much of the K100 million the Government allocated under the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) were consumed by “questionable quarters”.
Mr Kumbakor said each MPs received a separate K1 million under the K10 million for agriculture development in their respective districts.
“Your call is right, but after the K100 million NADP funds were exhausted, the Government forked out K1 million to give to MPs to develop agriculture and coffee is a major component.
“MPs must put the money where their mouth is and must get their priorities right by investing in coffee to help farmers and plantations.
“They should also maintain deteriorating rural road conditions, bridges and settle law and order problems which are identified as major setbacks to coffee industry,” he said.
Patrick Pomba, who spoke on behalf of stakeholders, said coffee bags were stranded in rural areas and farmers were in urgent need of good roads and bridges help increase exports.
“We also need law and order problems like tribal fights to be controlled,” he added.
Mr Pomba, who is Smallholder Growers Association chairman from Enga province, said the MPs’ K1 million may not be directly connected to coffee.
“We need direct funding from the Government to CIC to identify projects and expand.
“As examples, coffee in Kompian-Ambum district in Enga cannot come out because of bad roads and bridges while coffee in Baiyer River in Western Highlands province was destroyed in tribal fights,” he said.