Maru: SEZ May Reduce Prices of Fresh Meat and Agricultural Imports

by Quinton Alomp – EM TV News, Wewak

The cost of chicken is expected to drop if the country starts to farm wheat and produce chicken feed.

Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru, says chicken costs are high as a result of expensive wheat coming from Australia for producing feed. 

He says to minimise chicken costs, a special agriculture economic zone has to be created to farm wheat and produce feeds locally.

The Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister says the cost of chicken in PNG is expensive because of the high cost of importing wheat from Australia to produce chicken feed in Lae.

A solution to cut down on the imports of wheat is to establish a wheat farm in the county.

During the formation of government in Alotau in 2012, the national government agreed to invest in large scale agriculture projects by mobilising large land areas and bring in international investors with expertise, technology and capital to partner with landowners to develop agriculture projects.

Minister Maru says, the LR Group of Companies from Israel have shown interest to develop large scale poultry project and to grow wheat in the Sepik plains for making feeds.

While initial infrastructures and land mobilisation is currently underway at the Sepik plains, the Israeli company is expected to complete feasibility study early next year.

The national government has released 50 million Kina for infrastructure and land mobilisation in the Sepik plains.

Malaysia’s third largest Oil Palm company, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad, has signed initial agreements with the government to carry out feasibility studies and to develop 10, 000 acres of land for an oil palm plantation.

Apart from the proposed Sepik Plain Oil Palm project, five other land areas in the country have been identified for special agriculture purposes.

He says these SEZs are expected to minimise imports of agricultural and fresh meats into the country and maximise exports.

But how soon these agricultural zones will be developed still remains a question.

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