Kairuku-Hiri MP, Peter Isoaimo, has again raised concerns that the betelnut ban in Port Moresby has greatly affected his people who have depended on betelnut income for years.
He said the National Capital District Commission has allocated an area at Gerehu for his people to sell betelnut, but bringing the nut into the City is difficult.
Isoaimo has filed a Supreme Court reference on the betelnut ban, for the Court’s clarification on this by law.
Yesterday, Chiefs and councillors from the Mekeo Local Level Government met with their local MP, Peter Isoaimo, and discussed resolutions on the betelnut ban.
Some wanted Bereina station in Central Province to be their central location, so that buyers can travel up to buy betelnut.
Others wanted NCDC to give Central people the right to freely enter Port Moresby to trade at a Motuan village.
All their grievances were presented to MP Isoaimo.
Mekeo people are the biggest growers of betelnut in Central Province and the NCD.
When the extension workers and government officers left Bereina station in the early 90’s, the locals stopped growing cocoa and coconut, and concentrated on growing betelnut.
Their biggest trading and income comes from buyers in Port Moresby.
Since 2013, when the ban was imposed, the Mekeo people have been seeing lesser income and more risks in bringing betelnut into the city to trade.
In 2014, Isoaimo brought to the Supreme Court the reference on the betel-nut ban.
Two years after, and the Supreme Court has set the trial date to October 25, 2016.
Since it is a Court reference, NCDC and the Parliament Speaker has intervened to challenge the matter.
The MP has spent at least K200,000 to hire a law firm.