The New Ireland Provincial Government will help to increase cash crop prices for Cocoa and Copra farmers in the province.
The Provincial Executive Council has passed a Commodity Stabilization Fund for the province.
P-E-C Chairman and Governor, Sir Julius Chan says, these two cash crops have been the life-line of the province for many years, but people have given up working on them due to falling prices, and that is why the provincial government is stepping in to assist.
Sir Julius says they are supporting the people during this time of low prices to enable them to still make a reasonable profit, so they still can take care of their crops and even realize greater profits once prices recover.
He says New Ireland used to produce about 24, 000 tonnes of copra in a year before Independence and was the second biggest producer in the country, but is now only producing around 2, 000 tonnes which is a drop of more than 20, 000 tonnes.
He has directed the Provincial Administration to work out a mechanism to fully implement this scheme by the 01st of June this year, which will see farmers receiving 100 kina per bag of dried copra and 600 kina for a bag of dried cocoa, and must also involve New Ireland Development Corporation, which is the business arm of the provincial government.