by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
Agriculture Minister and Middle Ramu MP Tommy Tomscoll was summoned in parliament to explain why coffee export licenses were given out without much coffee production.
Dei MP Westly Nukundj wanted to know if the government had any plans in place to support a dying economic cash crop.
The multi-million kina coffee industry has declined over the last 30 years, due to numerous reasons including lack of government support.
Following questions from the Dei MP, Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll revealed the number of issues that had and are affecting the coffee industry. Minister Tomscoll clarified that issues affecting the coffee industry existed before but were never addressed by past governments.
He said a lack of government support and other related problems caused the industry to collapse over time.
Chuave MP Wera Mori asked a related questioned on the Price Stabilisation Fund for Coffee and if the PNG Coffee Board could be revived. In his response, Minister Tomscoll said both issues were matters that needed to be studied carefully prior to making any decisions.
Unlike the past, where these authorities operated well, it has proven to be difficult in recent times. A policy statement on the coffee industry will be presented in the next parliament session.