PNG PROVINCE GETS FRUIT PROCESSING PLANT

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Goroka factory is first of its kind in Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 27, 2008) - A new fruit drying plant has been set up in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province to process fruits.

The plant, the first of its kind in Papua New Guinea, was established by locally owned company New Guinea Fruit Limited, the sole shareholder in the company, as part of its initiatives to encourage a sustainable economy for the rural people.

The company has already bought fruit from subsistence farmers in Eastern Highlands and will soon buy from farmers in other provinces in the country. General manager Sally Watson said the company was focusing on developing products from locally grown fruits harnessing the traditional system of agriculture to develop value-added products thus providing alternative routes of income for the subsistence farmers.

Ms. Watson said, since the company’s establishment in 1997, it had established 16 products including the famous Live Lave wine now on the domestic market.

"These include fruit wines, fruit jams, honey and fruit juice drinks," she said adding that with the success of these products, the company was now able to venture into other products.

Watson said this was an opportunity for the people to own a fruit drying factory as the fruit drying industry was non-existent in the country.

Member for Goroka, Thompson Harokaqveh, who visited the company’s establishment at West Goroka said the project aligned comfortably with the National Government’s Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) and would encourage down stream processing and import replacement.

Mr. Harokaqveh said he was impressed with this new company because the aim of the company was to get PNG fruit products out to international markets.

He said the new initiative was aimed at rural subsistence farmers and also the international markets. Watson said this would be a challenge for New Guinea Fruit Limited.

"This project is the first of its kind in the country and we have been collaborating with the University of Philippines in having it set up in PNG. We hope for success as it will give rural people a market for their fruits," Watson said.

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