Minister seeks review of oil palm pricing

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 31st August 2012

AGRICULTURE and Livestock Minister Assik Tommy Tomscoll has directed his department and the Oil Palm Industry Corporation (Opic) to review the formula used to determine factory door price for fresh fruit bunches (FFB).
The FFB price formula is a price equation used to calculate the factory door price paid to oil palm growers.
Tomscoll made the announcement yesterday after consultation with Opic, officials from his department and the Oil Palm Council.
Tomscoll said a study would be conducted to review the FFB price formula to ensure that village oil palm growers and small holder growers received the value for what they produced.
The minister, during his consultative meeting with the commodity boards this week, tasked his department secretary Dr Vele Ila’ava Pat to liaise with Opic and advertise for recruitment of a consultant to conduct the review.
“During the study, all the stakeholders will be consulted including village oil farmers, processors, exporters and others involved in growing oil palm in PNG,” Tomscoll said.
“This study shall be independent conducted under the office of the secretary as leader in conjunction with Opic.
“The World Bank, under the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project, will fund the study.”
He said the oil palm industry is a major employer in the country and provided direct employment of over 27,000 people.
“In the face of changes in the market place, a surging domestic PNG economy and related changes on the globe across governments and corporate organisations, review of FFB price formula is inevitable and necessary,” Tomscoll said.
“In comparing with other commodities in the agriculture sector, the oil palm industry has grown rapidly since the year 2000 and accounts for nearly 54% of all agriculture exports in PNG.
“This represented an export value of K1.718 billion last year.”
He said oil palm last year was the leader in exports followed by coffee (24%), cocoa (8%), copra) 7.5%), and rubber (1.2%).