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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 17, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---The Papua New Guinea Government has launched a K 30 million (US$ 7,890,000) agricultural price support project for coffee and copra with a call to growers to raise production, quality and marketing.

Agriculture Minister Simeon Wai, while inaugurating the project in Goroka, announced that half of this money would be released in the first six months of next year with K 10 million (US$ 2,630,000) to go to coffee and K 5 million (US$ 1,315,000) to copra.

He also revealed that he would be seeking the support of Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta to write off K 28 million (US$ 7,364,000) owed to the Government by the cocoa industry.

Mr. Wai said the decision to support these pioneer agro-industries had been taken "mainly because of the precarious situation they are in right now with very low world prices."

It is understood that the Minister will shortly be traveling to the islands region to kick-start the copra price support segment.

He said the K 10 million for coffee would be channeled through the Coffee Industry Corporation's Coffee Price Stabilization Fund. The K 5 million for copra would go towards the establishment of a freight subsidy scheme.

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

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