Women farmers hail ban on fresh produce imports

Business, Normal

The National, Friday August 21st, 2015

 WOMEN farmers have commended the Government for its bold decision to ban the imports of fresh produce. 

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll announced the ban before a packed Agriculture Show at Bubia outside Lae, Morobe, last week.

PNG Women in Agriculture president Maria Linibi said the ban was good news for women to capitalise on the domestic market.

She said the announcement was beneficial for the 70-75 per cent of women farmers involved in horticulture activities. But, Linibi said timing for the announcement was not right. 

“Our threat is we cannot fully supply the market at this stage,” she said. She added that the decision was premature as PNG did not have the capacity to produce quality and sustainable fresh food.

“We do not have the necessary farm machinery and infrastructure like cool room, transport, marketing depot, seed systems and a complete supply chain mechanism to meet the domestic market on a sustainable basis,” Linibi said.

She said PNG women were food producers, yet they were rural-based with limited access to infrastructure and support services for efficient fresh produce supply system.

Linibi noted that the drought experienced nationwide would hinder any initial efforts since the ban came into effect last Tuesday.