Sunday, August 16, 2009

No fruit and vegetable exports as Papua New Guinea continues to import

Trade statistics show that Papua New Guinea has no horticultural (fresh food) exports, whilst continuing to import, mainly from Australia.
The Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) dropped the bombshell at the launching of its 2010-2014 corporate plan last Thursday.
“This might be considered surprising, given the superior agronomic conditions available for a range of fruit and vegetables,” according to the corporate plan.
“However, the absence of horticultural exports can be explained by an unfavorable fruit fly status which prevents exports of fleshy fruit and vegetables; lack of information on PNG’s comparative advantage in fruit and vegetable production; and the country’s focus on export of traditional tree crop commodities.”
Likewise, there is minimal processing of horticultural products in PNG, with only one notable processor, Goroka-based New Guinea Fruit Company, which produces fruit wines, jams and dried fruit (samples pictured above).
PNG, fortunately, is a member of a number of regional political and trading institutions and has bilateral agreements with several countries, which can enable it to break into markets in the region.
Its memberships include Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), South Pacific Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA), Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Economic Agreement and South Pacific Community (SPC).
The implications of the challenges facing the domestic markets and existence of trade agreements and partnerships include the need for PNG to:
•       Develop production, quality assurance and marketing systems and infrastructure for the domestic market as a springboard for export markets;
•       Focus on developing export markets for a few crops where the country enjoys comparative advantage, for example pineapple, pitpit, taro and ginger;
•       Build capacity and systems to respond to global consumer demands for organically-grown products, fair trade, food safety and affordable food prices in the face of reduced global supply; and
•       Understand and develop systems to address quality and phytosanitary requirements of potential importing countries, focusing on Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan with relatively less-demanding sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) regimes.
“The value of PNG horticultural imports from Australia was around K17 million in 2002,” according to the corporate plan.
“The largest single item was frozen potatoes (K3.8m), closely followed by apples (K3.6m) and onions ((K2.4m).
“Other significant items were peas in various forms (K1.7m) and oranges (K1.1m).
“The total volume of horticulture imports were: root and tuber crop imports – 2, 870 tonnes values at K7.1m, vegetables – 800 tonnes valued at K4.3m, fruit 0 1, 186 tonnes valued at K6.6m.
“These data show that, despite the 25-40% import tariff, PNG’s domestic market is relatively open to imports of horticultural products, most of which are produced in the country.
“There is, therefore, an opportunity for PNG farmers and other actors along the value chain to supply the formal market with horticulture products, provided the quality and prices are competitive.
“The role of FPDA is to facilitate this development by providing all value chain actors with market information and development of the supply and marketing system.”

No comments:

Post a Comment