Moratorium on ban to be lifted

The National,Thursday June 30th, 2016

THE three-month moratorium on fresh produce import restrictions will be lifted tomorrow, according to Fresh Produce Development Agency general manager Mark Worinu.
He said the Government, through Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll, had imposed a ban on certain fruits and vegetables entering PNG on August 12 last year. The aim was to protect and promote the local industry.
“A moratorium was then imposed on April 1, 2016, for an initial period of three months, to give more time to the buyers, suppliers and growers to consult and organise themselves to establish and strengthen the local fresh produce value chains before the lifting of the moratorium,” Worinu said.
“Consultations have been held with all value chain players and stakeholders, led and facilitated in the last two months by the Fresh Produce Development Agency.
“The main aim was to get views from all players and stakeholders on how to improve the local fresh produce value chain in light of the import ban and subsequent moratorium, and the possible lifting of the moratorium.
“The consultations were held in Port Moresby, Lae, Hagen, Goroka and some of the mining enclaves, particularly the key stakeholders such as growers, suppliers, transport companies, input suppliers, supermarkets and catering companies.”
Worinu said the conclusion was that the PNG fresh produce and horticulture industry was subsistence-based and at an infant stage. Therefore, it required innovative strategies and policies with consistent funding to develop the industry.
“Agriculture has been one of the priority sectors of the Government,” he said. “It is the vision of the Government to transform the food and agriculture sector.
“Therefore, appropriate policy initiatives are necessary to advance the sector into the future, where bulk of the PNG population sustains their livelihoods so that they can contribute to the development of the economy.”