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Reducing Papua New Guinea’s ag imports

Reducing Papua New Guinea’s ag imports

A new partnership hopes to help farmers supply fresh produce

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A new relationship is designed to help reduce the volume of vegetables Papua New Guinea imports.

RH Hypermarket, a chain of grocery stores, and the Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA), will work with a select group of local farmers to help them supply retailers with fresh produce.

“Because there are so many farmers, we have selected the farmers that we consider can supply enough (produce) in required volumes,” Phil Ager, assistant general manager with RH Hypermarket, told the National. “They fully understand that quality is important.”

The FPDA will provide technical advice to fruit and vegetable producers.

The grocery chain will explore ways to buy harvests directly through airfreight services. Some vegetables arrive by vessel, which can create freshness challenges.

 “Buying locally goes a long way to helping these communities financially,” Ager told the National. “Sea freight is currently being worked on, providing the produce meets our strict quality standards, as it takes up to three full days for sea freight but only one hour for air freight.”

Papa New Guinea imports most of its vegetables from Australia.

The country imported more than US$271 million of Australian vegetables in 2012, the World Integrated Trade Solution says.

Despite the reliance on vegetable imports, some sectors of Papa New Guinea’s ag industry are fueled by exports.

Papa New Guinea exported about US$591 million of palm and palm kernel oils to the European Union in 2017, the EU says. The country also exported significant amounts of coffee, cocoa beans and tropical fruit.

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