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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 29, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Copra growers in East New Britain have threatened to stop producing and selling copra until the Copra Marketing Board and the government come clear on the recent fall in prices.

The Small Growers Association is organizing a series of protest marches.

Copra Marketing Board regional manager Leslie Lalui declined to comment on the threats, apart from confirming that production was falling.

Small Growers President Henry Lote said because the politicians and the Copra Marketing Board had only been down playing their concerns over the years, their growers who represent a large percentage of the producers have decided to turn their backs on the crop.

They had been drumming up support from the Bitapaka, Kokopo/Vuna-mami and Toma/Vunadidir LLG’s, three of the biggest copra producing areas in the Gazelle Peninsula.

"What we are organizing will be different from the previous marches. We are genuine with our concerns because our livelihood has been affected," he said.

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

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