KIETA WHARF OPENING TO BOOST BOUGAINVILLE COPRA INDUSTRY

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By Moresi Ruahma'a

KIETA, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (February 3, 2000 – The National)---The copra industry in Bougainville is being revived with the re-opening of Kieta wharf in Central Bougainville from where copra will be exported.

The wharf is ideally located in calm waters within the picturesque harbor of the once populous Kieta township.

A busy port before the crisis from where hundreds of tons of copra and cocoa produced on the island used to be sent overseas, Kieta came to a standstill when government services were withdrawn during the secessionist crisis.

The re-opening saw the arrival of a vessel, the MV Rangtane, for the first direct shipment of 1,300 tons of copra to Singapore.

The re-opening was witnessed by Governor John Momis, Bougainville People's Congress President Joseph Kabui, North Bougainville MP Michael Ogio and representatives from Singapore copra buyers.

Central Bougainville MP Sam Akoitai did not attend the ceremony but said later that the re-opening of the wharf would revitalize the economy in Bougainville.

Akoitai, however, warned people opening up businesses in Bougainville that there should be a local participation to avoid further trouble on the island.

A local company, Nuvueta Export Agency, Limited, will be the main buyer and exporter of copra in the district.

The company was recently granted a temporary license for a period of 12 months by the National Government under former Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ted Diro.

This milestone achievement and granting of the license has also, for the first time, broken the Copra Marketing Board's monopoly over the industry.

The re-opening of the Kieta wharf has now eased the problem of copra producers and buyers selling their produce in Buka.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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