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K4 billion spent on food imports annually

PNG continues to spend K4 billion (US$1.2 billion) in food imports each year announced Minister for National Planning & Monitoring and Member for Yangoru-Saussi Richard Maru.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Government will focus on replacing food imports from here onwards and the Sepik Plains is high on our list of priorities,” said Maru.

Maru said this after a recent visit to the Sepik plains with Israeli investors set to develop East Sepik through an Innovative Agro Industry. The Innovative Agro Industry will develop an egg laying farm, broiler meat farm, and grain production. The developer will also establish a modern cocoa plantation using Israeli technology that will produce 400 to 500 per cent more yield than an average cocoa plantation.

CEO of the PNG Cocoa Board, Kautu Boutua, said with the partnership of Innovative Agro Industry, the Board is keen to see a different result with the new technology and a new way of approaching agriculture development.

“LR Group is waiting for the Government’s equity contribution of K14 million in the joint venture between the State and the LR Group before work commences. We are going to include that in the Supplementary Budget in the next two weeks,” Minister Maru said.

The project is expected to create thousands of jobs for locals and promote wealth creation. The project will also consist of a state-of-the-art training facility that will provide training and extension services to all the farmers in the area.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/ONEPNG

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