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Old 09-09-2005, 01:22 PM
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Coconut plays a major role as a cash crop

COCONUT as a cash crop plays a major role in the economic activities of Papua New Guinea.

Last year, copra export netted K143 million into the country and coconut also generated cash revenue for many households in the country, including villages in the Highlands region of PNG where coconut is not grown.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Mathew Siune said in Madang that the over the last few years, world commodity prices reached their lowest levels and the agriculture sector’s contribution to the national economy was taken over by the mining and petroleum sectors and the trade union’s continued push to increase the minimum wage.

He said as a result of low commodity prices, stakeholders had placed increasing emphasis on high research quality and a return from investment through export and research levies.

Mr Siune said it was important for the industry to explore and adopt appropriate marketing strategies for the various coconut products — both for domestic and overseas markets.

“The bottom line for the choice people make for deciding which products they will produce will depend on the net return village people get from the sale of coconut products,” Mr Siune said.

“The net return to the farmers will be on the price of the product, the distance to the market outlet and transport costs.
“There is continuing challenge of maintaining effective links between research, extension and farmers.”

He said both Kokonas Indastri Koporesen and PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute would work with the provincial extension programs to enhance the information dissemination process to coconut growers.

“The Government wishes to both add value to its investment in the agriculture sector and to minimise its risk exposure and stakeholder interest is increasing with regard to quality, relevance and value of achievement by KIK and its research and development agency PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute,” he said.

“In order to be successful in this tough environment, KIK and CCI must maintain an up-to –date understanding of the driving factors of change; it must heighten awareness of the external environment across the industry.”

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