By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 29) – The National government plans to increase its export earnings from rubber by revitalizing the industry.

The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) says it will work with the private sector in undertaking reforms to achieve this, including: 

A report from the DAL said revenue from rubber exports increased from K6.8 million (US$2.8 million) in 2001 to K8.8 million (US$2.6 million) in 2002, while for the first half of 2003, the country earned K5.1 million (US$1.5 million).

The National Agriculture Development Strategy states that the medium term strategy to boost rubber production would be to bring all existing rubber stands, especially those in remote parts of the country into managed blocks and tapped. 

If this was realized, an export tonnage of 15,000 tons per year could easily be produced. This could be processed in the existing factories, with the potential of earning the country some K23 million (US$7 million) in foreign exchange.

In Papua New Guinea, rubber is mainly grown in Central, Gulf, East Sepik and Manus Provinces and rubber factories are located in places like Cape Rodney in Central Province and North Fly in Western Province.

The smallholder sector has witnessed a period of continued growth spreading through the lowland provinces, whilst output from the estate sector has declined, with substantial numbers of properties converted to alternate enterprises, particularly cattle grazing. 

Meanwhile, the DAL report said OK Tedi mine is assisting rubber development in the project area. 

"They have so far assisted in planting 44 hectares in support of alternate agriculture activities to support the OK community after the mine closure," the report said.

October 30, 2003

The National:


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