Category Archives: Farming

Pacific Tuna Forum – O’Neill speech

 

At the 6th Pacific Tuna Forum

 

Under the theme:

“Fostering Greater Social, Economic and Financial Benefits – Through Sustainable Management and Development of Tuna Resources”

 

13 September 2017

 

Good Morning,

 

It is a pleasure for Papua New Guinea to host this very prestigious 6th Pacific Tuna Forum.

 

Tuna is indeed the natural resource that binds the peoples and Governments of the Pacific Islands together.

 

Tuna is also the major revenue earner for many of our Governments in the Pacific, and for some, it is their single source of revenue.

 

The importance placed on this resource cannot be overstated.

 

Even back in the 1970s, one of the main policy agendas of many Governments was co-operation together to manage their tuna resources.

 

This bi-annual Pacific Tuna Forum is an initiative of the Papua New Guinea Government, through the National Fisheries Authority, when it was first held here in 2007.

 

Today, it is held in Partnership with INFO-FISH, and our Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.

 

This 3rd forum to be hosted in Papua New Guinea, and also includes the inaugural fishery technology expo that was held yesterday.

 

This forum is a premier tuna industry meeting in the Pacific region.

 

I welcome all policy makers, fishery managers, NGOs and industry leaders from around the world, who are with us here today.

 

The theme of this Forum, focusing on “Greater Social, Economic and Financial Benefits Through Sustainable Management” is very timely.

 

This theme also resonates quote well with the theme of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum in Apia last week, that very much focused on sustainable development, management and conservation of the Blue Pacific.

 

At the Leaders’ meetings in Apia, we urged the establishment and mainstreaming of regional Minimum Terms and Conditions in all areas of investment and development.

 

This includes a focus on the environment, and compliance across all marine sectors, particularly fisheries.

 

We are placing our support behind a number of initiatives and export standards.

 

This includes Competent Authorities and Catch Documentation Schemes in our region’s small Island economies.

 

As a region we have access to over 50 percent of world tuna supplies.

 

However, the major markets for tuna are not within our region.

 

Papua New Guinea, through the National Fisheries Authority, recognised the importance of expanding our markets.

 

We have established a Trade Lobby Committee which is comprised of both Government and industry representatives.

 

The aim of this committee is to explore and develop new markets.

 

We must be proactive, and go out and look for markets for our fisheries products if we are to have a viable industry into the future.

 

But Pacific Island Nations need to maintain focus on what we must do to ensure we have a viable fisheries sector for our children and their futures.

 

We are building upon the 2016 Forum Communique calling for all high seas bunkering of purse seiners – to be forced into our zones and under license.

 

As part of this, we must broaden this to include long line transhipping and bunkering operations.

 

We have to work together to further prevent illegal activities.

 

Building upon the success of PNA nations in managing the purse seine fishery, we further urge Small Island Nations to use their strength in number, for greater leverage on their interests and to safeguard the interests of our countries.

 

As Pacific Island States we need to steer our destiny in zone and in self-determination, and ensure benefits go to the people and economies.

 

We must do this rather than struggle with external dictates by those believing they have paternalistic rights to our fish and our waters.

 

Overall we need to strengthen Pacific solidarity in ensuring collective efforts for joint initiatives for improved ownership, participation and returns from the Blue Pacific.

 

This needs to be through specific initiatives in the sectors such as fishing, processing, transport, trade, and food security.

 

We can build upon the successes of our regional brand for niche products, and ensure that we have the right standards.

 

I urge that we ensure that our operators are provided with more opportunities and supported by the government in the sector.

 

This can be support through the development of partner funded initiatives, so we are not just seeing 100% foreign ventures promoted in these sectors throughout the region.

 

We need genuine joint ventures.

 

We also encourage PPP initiatives, especially in port services, processing and cold store infrastructure development.

 

In my view there is has great potential for our economies, particularly in port waste management for the sector, and this has the added benefit of helping to preserve the natural environment.

 

We need to develop more downstream processing and provide more spin-off business opportunities for our people.

 

All too often we see the tuna sector that is alienating itself from pour people, and particularly our SMEs.

 

We must create more opportunities so that is industry can continue to provide, more support for labour mobility, and making sure that there are more income-earning opportunities for our coastal communities throughout the Pacific Island Nations.

 

These untapped resources, and the opportunities that are available, must be accessed at sea and onshore.

 

Our Government today, is taking a stand against those non-preforming ventures.

 

We are now going to review over the next three months.

 

We are going to review many of these ventures, and the agreements that we have, because as I said at the Pacific Islands’ Forum last week.

 

For far too long in our region, we see ventures that continue to never make profits, Maurice Brown-John said in Apia last week, they never want to leave either.

 

That is why, enough-is-enough.

 

It is time to stop playing these kind of games.

 

It is important that benefits are shared equally, and fairly, so that our people benefit from the resources that they truly own.

 

Our Government is continuing to undertake the responsibility to continue to build good public infrastructure, and provide more training, and tax incentives that will continue to strengthen the industry as we have done in the past.

 

Papua New Guinea has subsidised this industry over the past decade, almost to the tune of almost 1 billion US Dollars.

 

This is by way of concessional fishing rights, in addition to many other generous concessions to the fishing industry.

 

But the reality this hardly adds to the production output that we have sought to achieve.

 

So we can ask where are the results from the investment that the country has been making?

 

We only see market share eroding, for example countries are having access to the markets that are usually reserved for countries like Papua New Guinea, where the tuna originates.

 

So in countries like Germany, they are achieving market share of close to 40 per cent, from exports that come from Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region.

 

This is unacceptable to countries like ours, because it erodes the market share for our people and our country.

 

That is why it is important that we go back and review some of the agreements, where we are not seeing processing plants that are not even running up to 75 per cent capacity that is required to hold a license in the industry.

 

We have a scenario where only 1 in 5 fish, that our Government has subsidised, is actually processed in Papua New Guinea.

 

Only 1 in 3, or even 1 in 4 jobs to process the catch are in Papua New Guinea.

 

In reality it means that almost 80% of the benefits from Papua New Guinea, are actually enjoyed by other countries.

 

That is why PNG flagged vessels, that fish our waters today, who enjoy the discounts, and yet have not landed a single fish to our processors in 2 years will be held to account.

 

This is simply not acceptable.

 

Our Government will implement changes.

 

They will make the review, and by 2018 I expect that this scenario will change.

 

We will increase rewards and support to direct to those who are genuine in the industry, who are genuine in wanting to process the fish in Papua New Guinea.

 

Let me state again, we welcome genuine investors, but those who are only here for cheap fishing are welcome to leave.

 

Our Government is committed to building the necessary support infrastructure.

 

We will create facilities so that fishing men and women, and processors are able to bring fish into ports in a timely manner, can process them at a reasonable cost.

 

We are exploring funding options for the Wagang Port, a dedicated fisheries port in Lae.

 

We want this critical infrastructure to commence construction soon.

 

As many of you will know the Government of Papua New Guinea proposed the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone in Madang as a regional tuna processing hub.

 

We will continue to pursue this project.

 

There is no easy way and there are no shortcuts in building a truly robust and competitive fisheries industry together.

 

We need to build competitiveness by increasing productivity and reducing costs of production.

 

During this term of Government, the policies and the achievements of the PNG fisheries sector will be measured against the regional benchmark.

 

This will be as outlined in the regional roadmap for sustainable fisheries.

 

We will continue to pursue onshore investment so that we can support these policies, and work with processors towards meeting their processing capacities.

 

Our Government is committed to making this happen, and will work with all stakeholders, especially our locally based fishing and processing industries.

 

We have the greatest potential in our tuna industry.

 

And together we will build a fairer, sustainable and more profitable tuna sector.

 

I wish you all a successful, informative and productive forum and an enjoyable stay in Papua New Guinea.

 

I now declare open – the 06th Pacific Tuna Forum 2017.

 

Thank you.

Prime Minister – Peter O’Neill

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Sepik Plains Agro Project Prioritised in 100-day Plan

By : The National

THE K100 million Sepik Plains Special Economic Zone will be a priority in the Government’s 100-day economic recovery plan.

“We will work with National Planning Minister Richard Maru to develop that agro industrial project within 100 days,” Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allan said.

“There will also be a ban on the importation of uncooked poultry products.

“There will also be a review of the quota mechanism sought by the Central Commercial Rice Farming project by the state solicitor.”

The Sepik agro industrial project was launched by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Yangoru last June.

It will be on a 500-hectare land acquired by the State in the 1970s.

Several projects are planned there, including the Sepik Chicken Grain and Cocoa Innovation project, and the Yangoru water and power supply.

Allan said the Central rice project developer had set a quota which the State felt should be reviewed.

“The prime minister had given direction to my predecessor (Tommy Tomscoll) to look at the quota and report back to the secretary and to Cabinet,” he said.

“We also want those rice suppliers already in the country to reduce the quota.

“They must plant rice and increase production.

“They must reduce imports.”

Australian Academics To Visit UNRE

May 25, 2017 – Post Courier
Three Australian academics will be at the University of Natural Resources and Environment campus this week under the kina-for-kina (K4K) program, an innovative and collaborative new program established by the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia to improve quality in higher education in PNG.

Professor Paul Gadek, Dr Rob Brown and Emma Kill will carry out a teaching quality assurance systems audit.

The review is a follow on from the external academic audit conducted at UNRE in 2013 by a group of academics from Australia and PNG, who identified a number of important areas that the university needed to improve.

These included how the university tries to control the quality of its teaching, how it regulates the content of its courses and carries out teaching and assessment.

UNRE vice-chancellor Professor John Warren said in addressing the problems, the university’s administration systems were reviewed and refreshed and a number of new teaching administration systems were introduced.
“If we are to genuinely make progress and improve it is important that we know if these new systems are working,” Prof Warren said.

He said this would be the task of the visiting academics – to determine if the new teaching administrations system are understood and are being used effectively so that further improvements could be made to increase quality.

Divine Word University and the University of Technology will also receive grants under the K4K program. One will improve its business programs while the other is targeting training for the development of teaching and learning.

Prof Warren said he believes K4K will support more highly skilled graduates as well as lecturers.
“The government of Papua New Guinea truly appreciates the K4K initiative because it is aimed directly at assisting the areas of education that will lead to good outcomes for students,” he said.

Committee Needed To Address Poultry Issues

May 25, 2017BY MELISHA YAFOI
RURAL Industries Council chairman Sir Brown Bai has urged that a Credible Strategic Review Committee be immediately established by National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA).

This is to investigate and review the status of the disease of birds in Malaysia and other countries from where poultry is being imported.

These calls have been made following reports of the illegal importation of frozen poultry into PNG and of PNG’s disease-free status.
He said it is crucial that birds and animals must be carefully screened to ensure they are disease free.
“Government has not adequately resourced NAQIA to do its job well.”


The RIC urges the Government to resource NAQIA adequately and also requests the Government to establish the full NAQIA Board.
“Calls by the private sector to Government to establish a fully constituted Board have fallen on deaf ears,” Sir Brown said.
“The RIC is very concerned that almost all our major cash crops have been hit by pests and diseases that came in from outside the country,” he said.
“All commodities Boards, apart from oil palm, have Interim Boards and by their respective laws, these Boards must be appointed urgently,” he added.
Pertinent questions were put to the PNG Customs chief Commissioner Ray Paul, including if customs were aware of the containers with illegal frozen chicken that had been landed in the country, reportedly from Malaysia.
However, Mr Paul neither confirmed nor denied this.
Instead the customs chief said the entry of the poultry imports was a matter for NAQIA as the regulatory Authority and technical capacity to deal with.
“PNG Customs Service will only facilitate poultry imports if and when approval is granted by NAQIA. Any importer or the Poultry Industry who has issues relating to poultry imports will have to see NAQIA.
“PNG Customs service works very closely with NAQIA on all imports relating to plants and animals which are regulated by NAQIA laws.
“Furthermore, we encourage the public and Industry to provide information of interest that they deem illegal upon sighting to assist us with our work,” he said.

K120m to boost dairy industry

By : The National

ABOUT K120 million will be progressively invested in the establishment of a dairy industry in the country by the Innovative Agro Industries Limited.

Chief executive officer Ilan Weis said this would provide a cost-effective alternative to the products in the market.

“It is really not about creating a diary farm but creating a new dairy industry in PNG,” he said.

“Our products will be on the shelves of supermarkets by September or October. It really is grass to glass projects, meaning that when we do livestock as a business philosophy, we need to grow at least most of the feed.

“First it is mobilising enough land to grow enough feed for the cows to eat as importing feed is not sustainable for us as a business model. The farm is in Illamo and the feed is growing there in Central province.

“The cows are actually boarding tonight in New Zealand and will be here on the May 25. And then you have to do the milking parlour because that is non-existent here.

“Then there is processing, meaning you have to set up a factory or processing plant that does the fresh milk, butter, yogurt, ice cream and all the products.
Dairy-001

 

“It’s about creating an industry. It’s our biggest investment to date at US$40 million (K120 million).”

The partners in the project are Innovative Agro (50 per cent), Central province (30 per cent) and Government (20).

Central provided the land so the equity is in consideration of the land.

“Fresh milk price in PNG are ridiculous. A litre of milk in the shops goes for about K12 to K16. Two litres go up to K26. If the current price is K14, our target price is K6 to K8 a litre for the PNG consumer. And that something that we have done for vegetable and poultry as well.”

PNG-Australia workshop on Environment and Sustainable Development 

May 17, 2017 – Post Courier

THE Australia-Papua New Guinea Network and the Australian High Commission will be hosting a workshop in Port Moresby on environment and sustainable development.
The workshop is aimed at building understanding of Australia and Papua New Guinea’s shared environmental challenges and identifying opportunities for innovation and improvment.
Participants will include Papua New Guinean and Australian representatives from government, business and civil society, with specialist speakers in resource management and environment and conservation.
Members of the media are invited to a press conference with the workshop speakers.
The Australia-Papua New Guinea Network is delivered by the Lowy Institute for International Policy in partnership with the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea, supported by the Australian Government.


The workshop is scheduled for today at Grecian and Venetian rooms, Lamana Hotel. Guest speakers will be Dr John Muke of Kuk Swamp Agricultural Heritage Site, PNG, Kenny Bedford of Torres Strait Regional Authority Member for Erub, Australia, Kay Kalim, Dirctor, Sustainable Environment Programs, CEPA, PNG, Jeremy Visser, Environmental Consultant, Australia, Gwen Sisiou, Director REDD Office of Climate Change and Development, PNG, Dr Martin Rice, Head of Research, Climate Council, Australia, Lucinda Gulluman Kisip, Senior Adviser, Sustainable Development, Oil Search Limited, PNG, Susie Smith, CEO, Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, Australia. The chair of the panel discussion will be Roy Trivedy, UNDP resident representative for PNG.

Onshore Processing for Fish and Logs – O’Neill

By: PNGloop – 15 May 2017

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that plans are afoot to ensure all fish and logs resources are processed on shore.

Speaking during the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council Forum in Port Moresby today, O’Neill said it is the Government’s intention to have on-shore and downstream processing facilities for both the fisheries and logging sectors.

He said less than 25 percent of all fish caught in PNG waters were processed in PNG, meaning the country was losing out on around K350 million per annum.
“Today, I want to announce that we are reviewing all the agreements that we have with all the fishing companies and of course, the agreement with all the fishing processing companies in Papua New Guinea so they can comply with the agreements that we have,” the PM said.

“Our plan is that all the fish caught in Papua New Guinea must be processed here or on the very least, processed on shore.”
O’Neill added that all log exports will cease by 2020, with all logs to be locally processed.
He said this will create more businesses and employment opportunities for locals.


“All timber cut in Papua New Guinea must be processed on-shore. And we will work closely with companies who are already operating in Papua New Guinea in ensuring that this particular industry produces enough through the downstream processing opportunities that can enable the growth of housing industry and construction industry in our country,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill reiterated the government’s commitment to improving the business environment through investments in infrastructure.
He said this will pave the way from the government to broaden economic base and not rely on the resource sector, which is often subject to a ‘boom and bust’ cycle.

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