PNG: Major Ban On Fruits And Vegetable Imports

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Attempt to ‘grow domestic enterprises’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 17, 2015) – Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll has announced a major ban on the import of more than ten different fruits and vegetables.

And he is seriously considering further ban of imports products – those from China and Asia – and particularly those products with labels in languages other than English.

Mr Tomscoll announced the major ban on Friday, saying it would remain in place "until dialogue and protocols are established with the countries’ of origin."

On the banned list are potato (Irish), bulb onion, cabbage (round), carrot, tomato, capsicum (green peppers), pumpkin, peas, zucchini, egg plant, Pak Choi/Chinese cabbage, French bean, lettuce and celery.

The ban does not include rice as wrongly reported in one of the newspapers.

Mr Tomscoll signed off on the ban last Tuesday and it was published the next day in the National Gazette the next day. Mr Tomscoll had given advance notice of his intentions to impose this ban in his closing address at the Agriculture Stock-Take Forum last Thursday. He said then that he was prepared to defend these bans in international forums.

He has been concerned about the free access to domestic markets in Papua New Guinea of fruits and vegetables which can be grown and supplied locally.

He has stated that a ban of these fruits and vegetables – if the ban on import of uncooked poultry from Australia is any indications – would "grow" small and medium enterprises.

He has also expressed concern that there is a mismatch between where developmental partners trade to make money and where they channel their aid funds – usually in the social sectors and in good governance initiatives.

On further bans on non-English labels, Mr Tomscoll said that English is the business language of Papua New Guinea.

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