PRIORITY GIVEN TO LOCAL PNG MILLS TO BUY COPRA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 22, 2001 - Papua New Guinea Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea's Copra Marketing Board (CMB) will now sell copra to the two local copra mills before selling the remainder on the open market.

This was agreed to at a meeting of copra industry representatives and government heads in Lae.

Concerns were raised at the meeting that the two mills, Madang Copra Mill and Coconut Products in Rabaul, were not getting their capacity supply of copra, while the CMB exported copra.

The Madang mill has a capacity of 30,000 tons per year, while the Rabaul mill has a capacity of 70,000 tons per year. Both receive under half of their full production capacity.

According to industry representatives, selling to the two mills will greatly assist in offsetting some of the cash flow problems that are faced by the CMB.

"The need for quick turnover in cash requires sale to local mills," they said.

To ensure that growers get the best returns, the two mills must also pay the best possible price.

Downstream processing of copra into oil and other products was also discussed. Industry representatives called for more government assistance in attracting downstream processing investors.

Such ventures would create jobs, generate revenue for the government through taxes, enhance foreign exchange earnings and support other service and supplier industries.

It was also agreed at that the CMB should sell off some prime assets and start the process of moving out of Port Moresby as soon as possible. The CMB will also immediately implement the current provisions of the stabilization fund.

The meeting also decided that the different organizations representing growers should get together to resolve their differences and agree on one organization to be the grower/producer voice.

Concerns were raised that because there were too many organizations representing growers and producers, there had been infighting.

 

COPRA INDUSTRY TO BE DEREGULATED

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 20, 2001 - Papua New Guinea Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The Papua New Guinea copra industry is to be deregulated.

That is the directive from Agriculture and Livestock Minister Muki Taranupi.

The decision has been fully supported by major stakeholders at an industry meeting in Lae.

This means the buying, processing, marketing and pricing functions that are currently undertaken by the Copra Marketing Board (CMB) will be placed in the hands of the private sector.

Mr. Taranupi said amendments will be made to the Copra Act and the Copra Marketing Board Act to effect the changes in policy.

The changes may effectively do away with the Copra Marketing Board.

In its place it is intended that a Copra Board, with the sole function to monitor the industry will be set up.

Copra growers had over the years pushed for the deregulation of the industry, allowing the industry to take the lead in the processing, marketing and pricing of copra in the country.

CMB chairman Jerry Nalau gave his support to the Minister’s initiative.

Mr. Nalau said his main objective was to see an industry that benefited and served the growers.

"I believe the past problems that the industry faced was due to differences between the different parties. I believe in partnership and if people can work together, we can resolve all these problems and improve the industry for the benefit of the growers," Mr. Nalau said.

The meeting also agreed for a review of the CMB management structure, which has been described as "top heavy"; review the price formula for copra to ensure better returns for growers; put in place measures to ensure there was no monopoly created in the deregulated functions; and to ensure smallholders were able to hold equity in the privatized operations.

The meeting also agreed that a price stabilization support scheme be introduced to assist growers in times of low copra prices. Parties at the meeting, including representatives of the numerous growers associations, CMB board, and management and Agriculture and Livestock, all left the meeting pleased with their achievements.

"We are all happy with the outcome of the meeting," said PNG Growers Association executive officer David Low.

"It is the first time since the industry problems started six years ago, that all parties have been able to meet and discuss ways to resolve the problems, and we congratulate the Minister and Secretary Samana for their prompt action to convene this meeting," association president Valentine Kambori said.

Mr. Nalau said: "I have been looking for people to help me save the copra industry and I believe Minister Taranupi and Secretary Samana are the right people for this job."

The meeting, according to the participants, was frank and discussions were good, with resolutions that they said would set the basis for a revitalization of the copra industry.

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

COPRA INDUSTRY TO BE DEREGULATED

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 20, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The Papua New Guinea copra industry is to be deregulated.

That is the directive from Agriculture and Livestock Minister Muki Taranupi.

The decision was fully supported by major stakeholders at an industry meeting in Lae.

This means the buying, processing, marketing and pricing functions, which are currently undertaken by the Copra Marketing Board (CMB), will be placed in the hands of the private sector.

Mr. Taranupi said after the meeting that amendments will be made to the Copra Act and the Copra Marketing Board Act to effect the changes in policy.

The changes may effectively do away with the Copra Marketing Board.

In its place, it is intended that a Copra Board, with the sole function to monitor the industry, will be set up.

Copra growers have over the years pushed for the deregulation of the industry, allowing the industry to take the lead in the processing, marketing and pricing of copra in the country. They see the new direction as a break through.

CMB chairman Jerry Nalau gave his support to the Minister¹s initiative.

Mr. Nalau said his main objective is to see an industry that benefited and served the growers.

"I believe the past problems that the industry faced were due to differences between the different parties. I believe in partnership and if people can work together, we can resolve all these problems and improve the industry for the benefit of the growers," Mr. Nalau said.

The meeting also agreed to a review of the CMB management structure, which has been described as "top heavy," review the price formula for copra to ensure better returns for growers, put in place measures to ensure there is no monopoly created in the deregulated functions and to ensure that small holders are able to hold equity in the privatized operations.

The meeting also agreed that a price stabilization support plan should be introduced to assist growers in times of low copra prices. Parties at the meeting, including representatives of the numerous growers associations, CMB board and management and Agriculture and Livestock, all left the meeting pleased with their achievements.

"We are all happy with the outcome of the meeting," said PNG Growers Association executive officer David Low.

"It is the first time since the industry problems started six years ago that all parties have been able to meet and discuss ways to resolve the problems, and we congratulate the Minister and Secretary Samana for their prompt action to convene this meeting," association president Valentine Kambori said.

Mr. Nalau said: "I have been looking for people to help me save the copra industry and I believe Minister Taranupi and Secretary Samana are the right people for this job."

The meeting, according to the participants, was frank and discussions were good, with resolutions that they said would set the basis for a revitalization of the copra industry.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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