The National, Friday October 16th, 2015
THE Government must protect its primary industries to ensure a strong and sustainable economic future, New Britain Palm Oil country manager Robert Nilkare says.
Nilkare was reflecting on what the situation some in the primary industry sectors were facing during the long dry period.
The NBPOL group has an estimated 136,000 hectares of which 82,000 hectares are planted with oil palm, 6000 used for growing RAMU sugar and 9000 hectares for raising Ramu and Numundo cattle. He said any assistance from the Government would be welcomed.
“Any assistance the Government can offer the agriculture sector in terms of subsidies in fuel and fertiliser, and stronger protection of local industries such as sugar would be beneficial to the people and the country post-El Nino and into the future,” he said.
“Our sites at West New Britain, Ramu, Higaturu, Milne Bay and Poliamba have experienced much lower rainfall than usual since the dry weather pattern started in June.
“The lower than average rainfall has resulted in our replanting programmes being delayed and palms showing various degrees of water deficiency stress.
“The younger palms are suffering far more than the older ones.
“Ramu Agri Industries Ltd has invested heavily in pasture improvement in recent years as part of a strategy to cope with such conditions.”