THREE MAJOR FISH CANNERIES TO OPEN IN PNG

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Some 20,000 jobs anticipated

By Oseah Philemon PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 9, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), a massive 20,000 people are likely to be employed in fish canneries in Lae, a Morobe provincial minister said at the weekend.

[PIR editor’s note: Lae has grown to become Papua New Guinea's second largest city and is both the administrative and business capital of the Morobe Province. It is the nation's major manufacturing and shipping centre. The Province has nineteen wharves and a healthy coastal shipping industry.]

Joshua Hagai, the former premier and now chairman of fisheries in the Luther Wenge government, said the provincial government has been successful so far in bringing on shore three major fish canning companies which have now established their businesses in Lae.

Malaysian-owned International Food Corporation (IFC), which produces the popular Besta tinned fish, and soon to go into tuna canning and Filipino-owned Frabelle PNG Limited, which produces canned tuna, have been established in Lae for a long time.

Another major fish canning factory owned by a joint Thai and Filipino company, the Majestic Group of Companies, is now constructing what is likely to be the biggest fish cannery in the Pacific.

The new cannery is being built at Malahang outside Lae.

Mr. Hagai said a Korean company Dong Wong, which is considered to be the third largest fishing canning company in the world, is also confirmed to establish a cannery in Lae. This company recently bought out the American fishing company, Starkist.

He said another Filipino company Number 1 Seafood Ltd is also confirmed to establish a cannery in the Morobean city.

The sixth company is a Chinese firm named Zhaugen Zhajan that is also moving into Lae, Mr. Hagai said.

Mr. Hagai revealed that last week a French fish processing company delegation was in Lae on a scouting mission to look at establishing a premium tuna loining factory in the city.

Mr. Hagai said having a European Union country establishing a tuna factory in Lae will go a long way towards helping PNG to raise the standard and quality of its exports to Europe.

The delegation visited Madang before coming to Lae.

"I am excited about this and the Morobe Government is also excited about it," Mr. Hagai said.

Mr. Hagai also revealed that fish companies from two other European countries – Spain which has the highest number of fish canneries in Europe, and Norway, recently made enquiries about fish cannery opportunities in Lae.

Mr. Hagai said most of the fish canneries are looking at increasing the export of PNG tuna to the lucrative European Union market.

Lae-based IFC has completed installation of machinery to process tuna canning for export to the EU market and was awaiting other formalities to be completed before processing can begin.

This was confirmed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer Rosedean Zaily Dzulkfli at the weekend.

Mr. Rosedean said the IFC tuna processing plant will increase employment by another 2,000 over the next three to four years.

Mr. Hagai brought to IFC a high-powered delegation of Pacific fish ministers and senior officials who have been in Port Moresby attending the Pacific Asian Caribbean Trade and Fish Ministers and official’s conference.

They visited IFC and Frabelle to gain first hand knowledge of PNG’s efforts to process tuna and other marine resources on shore both for domestic as well as export markets.

Mr. Hagai said the Morobe Government was firmly in support of all fish canning companies which are already here or are planning to come to Lae soon.

He said the Governor Luther Wenge strongly believes in creating new jobs for the ever-increasing youth population which remain largely unemployed in Lae.

"The fish canneries coming to our city will add more jobs to the economy of Lae and this will enable more young people to be employed," he said. Lae is a declared import/export port and it makes all commonsense for companies producing products for export to come here."

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