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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 4, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---A workshop on food security strategies was told that Papua New Guinea’s reliance on imported food painted a false picture that the country is one of the food deficit nations.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Mathew Kanua said Papua New Guinea has the land and climate suitable to produce all its food.

Mr. Kanua made the remarks at the opening of a two-day workshop on Food Security and Strategies organized by the Consumers Affairs Council and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations – which works to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security -- defines food security as: the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healthy life.

Mr. Kanua told workshop participants that the issue of food security and poverty alleviation must go hand in hand if Papua New Guinea is to achieve sustainable social development.

He said the food processing, marketing and distribution system in the country is very poor -- and in many areas non-existent -- due to difficult terrain. He said this was an area that needs urgent attention.

He added: "Food safety and standards is another area of concern because in the absence of food safety and standards systems, consumers are extremely vulnerable to abuse and health hazards, while commercial organizations may exploit the situation to their advantage."

He told participants the concern now lay with the small farmers.

The workshop was intended to give participants some time to come up with strategies to minimize any possible effect on small farmers, who are major producers of agricultural commodities.

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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