by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Minister for Agriculture, Tommy Tomscoll, today justified his reasons on imposing the ban on importing certain goods, as a biosecurity measure for Papua New Guinea.
Mr Tomscoll told participants at the Waigani Seminar at the University of Papua New Guinea, that the ban will push local food industries to invest in local communities.
This, Tomscoll believes, is so that local food manufacturers will increase their production rate and manufacture goods to their full capacities.
His comments reflect a community initiative taken by Niugini Tablebirds to invest in a K6 million project in Morobe weeks about the ban on uncooked poultry products was announced.
The move to impose the indefinite ban on certain goods is one platform the Agriculture department is taking to push food manufacturers to produce goods that can be supplied to all provinces in PNG, and turning PNG from a net importer to a net exporter.
“Over 80 percent of PNG population, depends on agriculture but it remains under funded by the national government,” Mr.Tomscoll said.
Food Security now sits on top of many high level discussions and the Agriculture department is looking at drafting an Agriculture Bill that will give prominence to food security.
Currently, PNG does not have an Act that protects the agriculture sector and since PNG Independence the department was using Acts or Policies from the Environment, Forestry or Mining Departments to address agricultural related issues.
“There is no Agriculture Act in place and the department will create registrations on that,” Tomcoll said.
He added that an Agricultural Investment Corporation will also be created.
The primary aim of the bill once it’s passed as an Act in parliament, will serve as a guideline for local exporters and when issuing international licences to foreign exporters when investing in PNG.