By LULU MARK
Papua New Guinea has great potential to export livestock and organic food to the Asian market and the world, Prime Minister James Marape said yesterday.
He opened the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) performance veterinary (PVS) gap analysis mission workshop hosted by the PNG National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (Naqia) which would help improve the care of livestock.
Marape, who is also the care-taker Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, said it was a meeting of a smaller presence of people but in his view one of the greatest that could take place in the country because agriculture and livestock would unlock the wealth of this country.
He said with 460km of arable land, year-round rainfall and accessibility to water, it was time to shift the minds away from just focusing on oil, gas and mining, which were heavily dependent on global price fluctuations.
“Let us focus on diversifying into agriculture and livestock,” he said, explaining that it was a sustainable means of making money where all citizens could be engaged in.
In terms of food, he said, whatever produced in Australia or PNG would not be adequate to supply the market place in the region.
He said in light of climate change, increasing population and more land becoming not user- friendly for agriculture, food security would be a global issue in the future.
When that happened, Marape said, people would be shifting towards unconventional ways of cultivating food and harvesting animal products.
However, he said PNG would be the answer to food security in the region and be known by the world as an organic food hub. “Our region, the immediate Asia as well as greater Asia, has about four billion people and every day they need to eat and that food must be supplied by a producer somewhere.”
Marape said Papua New Guinea would also support other Pacific Island countries that did not have enough land.
By LULU MARK