By MALUM NALU
THE Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK) will subsidise the cost of copra freight to help rural copra producers get their produce to the market in light of current low prices.
KIK corporate affairs manager Alan Aku told The National the government allocated K7 million for copra freight subsidy assistance this year but this money had not yet been received.
"The government has given us K7 million for freight subsidy," he said.
"We’re waiting for the money to be disbursed so we can help the most-isolated places.
"We made a submission for freight subsidy because of the (copra) prices going down.
"We’ve identified five provinces, targeting the most-remote areas.
"For example, in East New Britain, we’re looking at Pomio.
"In New Ireland, we’re looking at West Coast or Namatanai.
"In West New Britain, we’re looking at Bali-Vitu or Kandrian-Gloucester.
"In Madang, we are looking at Rai Coast or Karkar.
"In Milne Bay, we are looking at the outer islands."
Milne Bay provincial government already has a subsidy initiative to assist local producers when copra prices fall.
A subsidy of 70t per kg is paid to producers to prop up what they received.
Governor Titus Philemon has allocated K100,000, while the other MPs have been asked to allocate K250,000 each from their district support grants.
Alotau MP and Planning and Monitoring Minister Charles Abel has allocated K500, 000 to fund the subsidy for his district.
Aku said such support enriched Milne Bay growers in that they received better prices compared to those in other provinces.
"They (Milne Bay) have done well," he said.
"While other provinces have been sitting on K500 to K600 per tonnes, Milne Bay was sitting on K1,000."