New program to boost PNG agricultural exports

PHAMA PNG teamAustralia and Papua New Guinea today launched a new program to increase Papua New Guinea’s agricultural exports.

Australia will expand the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program to PNG, providing practical assistance to the public and private sectors to increase the export of horticultural and agricultural produce to regional and international markets.

Increasing domestic agricultural production and agricultural exports will benefit Papua New Guineans living in rural areas. Over 85 per cent of people live in rural areas yet only around three per cent of cultivated land is used for export cash cropping.

Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Rod Hilton said Australia is delighted to provide AU$5 million through the aid program to expand the successful program to PNG.

“Through our development partnership with PNG, Australia is increasing assistance for private sector-led economic growth in PNG to create jobs and reduce poverty,” Mr Hilton said.

Activities under the program could include:

• assisting commodity sectors develop plans related to development needs and export

• assisting with ongoing improvements to cocoa and coffee quality standards;

• commencing work on artifacts and handicrafts quarantine compliance awareness; and

• providing assistance to further develop spice and chocolate products for export.

Speaking at the launch, Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock, Dr. Vele Ila’ave, noted, “We are very hopeful that PHAMA will help us address some of the technical market access issues that continue to confront PNG. I look forward to the Program developing a strong relationship with my Ministry and other technical organisations.”

The Program has been running since 2011 in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu with funding from Australia and New Zealand.

It will be implemented by AECOM and key partners in PNG will include the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA), Fresh Produce Development Agency, the National Fisheries Authority, exporters and commodity boards.

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