Thursday, January 29, 2009

Understanding consumer preference of fresh produce in Papua New Guinea

Caption: Highlands fresh carrots sold at Lae market 
Story and picture by JOSEPHINE YAGA
The Papua New Guinea fresh produce sector has great potential in generating export revenue.
 It is also an important source of cash income for highlands farmers if the functioning of the supply chain is improved.
However, the sector at present is not organised to provide reliable supplies of consistent quality produce and this is compounded with no effective quality control system in place. 
This is according to a recent National Agriculture Research Institute publication Think Locally before Going Global: Understanding the Consumer Preferences of Fresh Produce in Papua New Guinea. The technical bulletin, written by research economists Norah Omot and Jesse Anjen of NARI and Professor John Spriggs of University of Canberra, says that in order for the PNG fresh produce industry to effectively compete on the export market, it is essential to improve the functioning of the supply chain.
The bulletin was published in August 2007 following a survey funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which was carried out in major supermarkets of Lae and Port Moresby.
The study focused on improving the formal marketing system for fresh produce in PNG. 
The publication, which provides valuable information on fresh produce and markets in the country, says fresh produce grown under temperate climate in the highlands has an excellent reputation for quality.
PNG can take advantage of rapidly involving global opportunities.
Agriculture exports are viewed as an important alternative source of export revenue as royalties from the mining sector begin to diminish.
Thus, improving the domestic marketing system for the highland fresh produce is a matter of urgency.
But lack of proper handling, storage and most importantly, formal domestic marketing system for fresh produce are issues needed to be addressed by the government.
“If agriculture is to achieve the National Government’s objective on export-driven economic growth, rural development, poverty reduction and empowerment through human resource development through the Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2005-2010, there needs to be an improvement in the formal domestic marketing system for fresh produce before casting its sights further a field to the export market,” according to the report.
Consumers, both at the highlands and coastal markets, prefer the quality of local fresh produce more that those imported.
However, the poorly-developed marketing system for locally-grown fresh produce, results in inconsistent quality and unreliable supply.
The publication says besides filling the gap that is currently being inadequately served by imports, improving the local industry will also provide a springboard for the successful export of fresh produce grown locally in PNG to the rest of the world. 
The publication is currently selling at K5.
Meanwhile, socio-economic studies are currently underway to find avenues that can help improve marketing systems of fresh produce in PNG.
One such study, funded by ACIAR, is a collaborative research project on improving the marketing efficiency, post-harvest management and value addition of sweet potato in PNG.
The project is being carried out by NARI, the Fresh Produce Development Agency and partners from PNG and Australia.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:53 PM


    We have the potential to produce organic carrots and even export to Australia and NZ. But you take a visit to supermarkets in POM and you will see that we still import Australia and NZ carrots. We also import cabbages, tomatoe and brocollie.... Bro, up in my Tambul village, we grow all this vegetables in mass. Sadly, we dont have the market. Even the roads are terrible to transport to Hagen market. But in Hagen today, the third largest city now becoming a cowboy town. Bags are snatched, mothers from my place like Tambul are targeted.

    Sir Chief Somare is talking about seasonal workers and pushing for that. I am thinking why not we take advantage of Australia's aging and labor shortage and produce mass in PNG and export to them. Even when they face drought, we control Fly Rive by piping it to them, instead of oil and gas. This will give us the leverage, so we dont bow down on boomerang aid.

    Somare is not growing wise but so stupid that we are slowly compromising our sovereignity. I think its time we must learn from what our Melanesian Bainimara is joking with Australia and NZ.

    Mathew Yakai