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August 14, 2020
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Copra Farmers Affected Due to Lack of Competition

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Copra farmers on Karkar Island want better pricing for their produce.

They also want more buyers on the island to give them more options on their copra.

A number of farmers EMTV interviewed at Kinim station say farmers need at least three or four more buyers to create more competition in order to boost copra prices on the island.

They say copra production is a daunting task that takes a lot of time, effort, and resources yet they get little value out from their copra bags.

 Lingguan is one of the copra buying depots on Karkar Island.

Farmers come with truckloads of copra bags to sell at the depot.

Here, the bags are weighed at K1.25 per kilo and stored at the warehouse ready to be shipped to Madang town.

Farmers say the cost of living has increased and the only resource Karkar islanders depend on is coconut or copra.

They say they need money for school fees, savings, paying for goods and services like health and other necessities.

Although there is now a third buyer on the island, it is still not sufficient.

They still want more buyers so there is a competition that can lead to an increase in the price of copra on the island benefiting farmers.

Last month Madang Provincial Government gave K1.5million to the third buyer Lingguan Company to subsidize copra prices on the island, while Sumkar DDA also gave K600 thousand kina as a subsidy to the same company.

The two local buyers Kulili and Biabi were given K200 thousand kina respectively.

However, a statement by Brett and Derek Middleton of Kulili Estate say the full subsidy payment of K1.5million of public funds was given to a Chinese company adding that Kulili and Biabi Enterprise, the two longest-serving PNG owned companies received no subsidy funding from the provincial government.

They further said PNG companies have invested heavily in the agricultural industry employing over one thousand Papua New Guineans.

Another farmer, Tony Dibul, says there needs to be an equal playing field when it comes to giving subsidy funding to buyers.

The recent K1.5million given to Lingguan Company alone does not create an equal opportunity for the other two buyers to compete with Lingguan.

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