Friday, October 02, 2020

Government moves to promote citrus industry

The Government will be moving to promote PNG's fledgling citrus industry in a big way, says Agriculture and Livestock Minister.

An impressed Simon said this after visiting the orange orchard of Agriculture and Livestock Secretary, Daniel Kombuk, in the Wahgi Valley of Jiwaka on Sunday (Sept 27, 2020).

Kombuk, PNG's leading breeder and farmer of citrus, grows Israeli and California hybrid oranges in the Wahgi Valley.

Hundreds of people are now growing oranges, purchased from Kombuk's nursery at Aviamp and at Minj, as a cash crop.

Minister Simon said the monetary gains, from just one tree alone, at 250kg per year, were significant for this  sleeping giant import replacement industry.

He said oranges were very expensive in Port Moresby supermarkets, selling as high as K40 for just six, when higher quality ones were being grown in the Highlands.

He urged Papua New Guineans to start growing oranges and in their backyards as a cash crop.

True to form, Simon, himself a farmer, ordered 10,000 orange seedlings to be grown in his Maprik District in East Sepik Province.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A visit to Nowek Coffee Factory in Goroka


Nowek Coffee Factory General-Manager, Joe Shelley, takes us through the factory process from factory door to green bean ready for export.

The factory is at Kamaliki just outside of Goroka along the Highlands Highway.

 He also shows us what Nowek is doing to prop up PNG's declining coffee production, including supplying seedlings by the thousands, as well as increasing quality of its product.

Young gun of PNG's coffee industey


Young Joe Shelley, 32, is one of the young guns of PNG's coffee industry. 

He is now running  nationally-owned export company, Nowek, after the death of his father, Goroka coffee legend, Terry Shelley, in 2017. 

Joe is a precociously-talented young man who has fitted well into the shoes of his famous dad. 

Joe was in Australia when his father called him back to Goroka and passed on the reins. 

During a recent visit, Joe showed me around the Nowek Coffee Factory at Kamaliki, outside Goroka, and gave his frank views on the  status quo of the industry. 

His major concern is that coffee production is not increasing in PNG. 

Competition among Goroka exporters for the limited coffee available is intense. 

Nowek is helping to alleviate this issue by distributing coffee seedlings free of charge to people who want to get into growing coffee.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

54 years in Goroka... and counting...

In the morning of Sunday, September 13, 2020, at Kama in Goroka, I was privileged to be introduced to one of the pioneers of Goroka, 78-year-old Ebung Dambi from  Mape in Finschhafen, Morobe. 

His is an amazing story. 

Mr Dambi, who is related to the Zurenuoc family, first came to Goroka in 1966 as a plumber and has stayed here since. 

He married his Chimbu wife, Sinape, at North Goroka Lutheran Church in 1970. 

Mr Dambi reflects on 54 years in Goroka and his thoughts of the future.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Livestock Development Corporation takes charge of beekeeping industry

The Livestock Development Corporation (LDC) has taken charge of Papua New Guinea's lucrative beekeeping industry.
LDC Managing-Director Terry Koim and Executive-Chairman and Department of Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Daniel Kombuk announced this in Goroka on Thursday, September 10, 2020.
They also signed a memorandum-of-understanding with the Eastern Highlands Beekeepers' Association, the largest and most-organised grouping of beekeepers in the country, to progress the industry.
The beekeeping industry has up to now been run on an ad hoc basis by farmers themselves.

A look into PNG's beekeeping industry

The beekeeping industry in PNG is a small but lucrative one.
Farmers get K12 per kg of raw honey, which is more than coffee, or other agriculture produce.
Many years ago, we had a factory in Goroka which exported honey, but this is no more.
It is an industry we should develop as we celebrate 45 years of Independence.
Along the Highlands Highway, outside of Goroka, pioneer beekeeper and retired agriculturalist Ian Mopafi builds beehives and frames for sale to honey farmers in Eastern Highlands and other parts of the Highlands.
Here he shows us his operation and talks about the untapped potential of the beekeeping industry.

Zuguru Cattle Ranch beefed up with new vehicle

The Zuguru Cattle Ranch in Bena, Eastern Highlands, has been given a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle to do its work.
The vehicle was handed by Livestock Development Corporation (LDC) Executive Chairman and Department of Agriculture and Livestock Secretary, Mr Daniel Kombuk, to
Zuguru Manager Mr Bobby Sogavo on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

The event was witnessed by LDC Managing-Director Mr Terry Koim, Director Mr Ian Mopafi, invited guests and locals.
It is part of the drive by the LDC to beef up Zuguru, and all LDC ranches in the country, in line with the vision of Prime Minister
James Marape
for PNG to be self-sufficient in beef production by 2025.

Zuguru Cattle Ranch, Bena, Eastern Highlands

The Department of Agriculture and Livestock is often disparaged as "Department of Agriculture and Deadstock".
Deadstock because the once-flourishing herds of cattle, sheep and other livestock are no more. Deadstock no more.

At Zuguru Cattle Ranch, in the Bena area of Eastern Highlands, a major cattle replenishment exercise and improvement of infrastructure is taking place.
This is in line with the vision of Prime Minister
James Marape
for PNG to be self-sufficient in beef and other livestock production by 2025.

Independence Day 2020 Flag Raising

 At this very spot exactly 45 years ago, on September 16, 1975, the Flag of Papua New Guinea was hoisted for the first time.

In the morning of Sepetmber 16, 2020, in a moving ceremony at Independence Hill officiated by Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, the Flag of PNG was raised to mark 45 years of Independence.

God Bless PNG today and into the future.

PM Marape's Independence Day Address 2020

 Prime Minister Hon. James Marape's inspiring 45th Independence Day Address delivered at Independence Hill in Port Moresby in the morning of September 16, 2020:

Menifo Sheep Research Station

Menifo Sheep Research Station in the beautiful countryside of Lufa, Eastern Highlands Province, is a far cry from what it used to be.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Menifo teemed with sheep, cattle, goats and other livestock with support from the New Zealand Government.

Such was the importance of Menifo that former New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon once visited the place.
Livestock grazing at Menifo could be seen from the air as planes came in for landing at Goroka Airport.
Sadly, Menifo is now rundown, with no more livestock.
The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) plans to revive Menifo with the support of Livestock Development Corporation (LDC) and other commodity boards.
This is in line with the vision of Prime Minister
James Marape
for PNG to be self-sufficient beef and livestock production by 2025.
LDC Executive-Chairman and DAL Secretary Daniel Kombuk and Managing-Director Terry Koim visited Menifo on Friday, September 11, 2020.

Eastern Highlands beekeeping industry gets a boost

 An agreement has been signed between Livestock Development Corporation LDC) and Eastern Highlands' Beekeepers Association (IHBA) to develop the beekeeping (apiculture) industry in Eastern Highlands Province.

Eastern Highlands is the hub of the beekeeping industry in PNG.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed in Goroka on September 11, 2020, provides for honey production and value chain operations in Eastern Highlands.
LDC provided initial funding of K5000 to increase capacity of the IHBA.
LDC will recruit a trained beekeeper to build the capacity of all stakeholders.

China Juncao and Upland Rice Technology Project in PNG

At a corner of North Goroka, in the capital of Eastern Highlands, a quiet agricultural revolution is taking place.
This is the home of the ‘China Juncao and Upland Rice Technology Project to PNG’ which is being run in collaboration with the Eastern Highlands Provincial Government.

Here, Chinese experts are carrying out work on Juncao Mushrooms, Upland Rice and an amazing grass with multiple uses known as ‘Lin Grass’.
The grass, which also enriches the soil, is used for mushroom propagation as well as feed for livestock including goats, sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, chicken and even fish.
The North Goroka base supplies mushrooms – which retail for up to K20 per kg at supermarkets - to Eastern Highlands farmers.
Upland Rice cultivation is already taking off in a big way in Goroka, Henganofi, Ungai-Bena, Daulo and Lufa districts of Eastern Highlands.
In May this year, a grand rice harvest officiated by Eastern Highlands’ Governor Peter Numu was held at Finintugu Village in Henganofi, where growers sold 148 bags of rice weighing 10.5 tonnes to the new Eastern Highlands Rice Co-operative.
The farmers then donated 1.5 tonnes of rice to the Chinese experts for distribution to other rice growers in Eastern Highlands.
This is the biggest rice project involving rural villagers in PNG and is very much in line with the vision of Prime Minister
James Marape
for the country to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2025.
On Friday, September 11, 2020, I accompanied Agriculture and Livestock Secretary Daniel Kombuk and Livestock Development Corporation Managing-Director Terry Koim to the Juncao base in North Goroka.

The soapmaker of Goroka

Goroka soap maker
Barclay Kaupa
is a real maverick.
I know Kaupa from my years in Goroka from 1998-2002, when my late wife and I were regular customers of his for fresh honey, as well as homemade soap and detergent for the house, and can vouch for their quality.

Despite being a Grade 10 dropout in 1984, Kaupa’s extensive use of the Goroka Public Library and the University of Goroka Library – through a lot of reading – helped him to start his honey and soap business.
Kaupa ran Jauka Honey, a small honey and soap-making set-up at Kama in Goroka, until business was affected by the bee mite in 2008.
In May 2005, he was named as best small business by the Small Business Development Corporation at the PNG Coffee Festival and Trade Fair and pocketed the K800 first prize.
Reading was the secret to the sweet success of his honey and soap-making business.
Kaupa, from Lapeigu village outside Goroka, completed his Grade 10 at Asaroka Lutheran High School in 1984 – with no offers for further education or employment.
In 1986, the disillusioned young man managed to secure a job with Lamana Wholesale in Goroka, a job he held until the company wound up in 1990.
He had a coffee plot at Lapeigu, and soon realised that he could have a sustained cash flow all year round, if he grew coffee and raised bees together.
Towards the end of 1996, the young beekeeper approached Benny Jauka, the owner of Gamesano Trading in Kama, for assistance to get the honey project off the ground.
Jauka Honey was distributed mainly in Goroka and Lae, where – through Rabtrad – was distributed by Andersons Foodland stores nationwide.
In August 1998, the innovative Kaupa ventured into soap production using bee wax.
It was trialed in the hauslains of Goroka by the people who mattered – mothers – and they gave it the thumbs up.
Thus was born the Nokorowa Soap.
The soap proved to be a big hit in Goroka, and was distributed throughout the highlands.
Towards the end of 1999, Kaupa ventured into yet another product, the Nokorowa Soap Powder.
The soap is ground up into fine powder, and then packed and sold as a grassroots alternative to the familiar Omo and Cold Power.
Nokorowa Soap Powder is now a familiar sight in the shops of Goroka.
Kaupa is a fervent believer in self-reliance and independence, and speaks out strongly against the handout mentality.
On September 12, 2020, while in Goroka, I visited his humble set-up at Kama and he showed me around.
Barclay Kaupa can be contacted on phones 75209847 and 75209847 and email

Friday, June 05, 2020

PM Marape thanks MPs for overwhelming support to ICAC

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has thanked all Members of Parliament for their overwhelming support towards the Organic Law on the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC).
He said this after Parliament voted 98-0 in favour of ICAC on Wednesday, with one more vote in the August session of Parliament before it becomes law.

Parliament voting for ICAC on Wednesday 

Prime Minister Marape said he had promised the Nation on May 30, 2019, after taking office, that his Government would change laws for the betterment of the country going forward.
He said ICAC had been talked about since 1997 with little to no progress in making it become law.
“Things do not happen overnight without political will,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“The last Peter O’Neill-led Government progressed it to some level, but had no courage to put the finishing touches and carry it into Parliament.
“I thank all leaders and Attorney-Generals of the past, and public servants, of trying to progress ICAC but to no avail until today.
“Today, I thank all MPs including Hon. Dr Allan Marat and Hon. Joseph Lelang on the Opposition, the 15 People’s National Congress MPs, and 81 of us on the Government side who voted in support of the ICAC Bill.
“We have just two more months to go before this Bill is passed as Law.”
Prime Minister Marape stressed that corruption ate away scarce resources meant for development of the country.
“Corruption exists in a sinful world because none of us are perfect,” he said.
“This ICAC institution we are building will be a one-stop shop dealing with all matters pertaining to corruption.
“When operated with our recently-passed Whistle Blowers’ Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, Criminal Code Act and others we have, ICAC will become a beacon of hope in a nation so swamped with real and perceived corruption.
“Once set up, we will fill ICAC with qualified commissioners mostly recruited from overseas, so that we avoid local bias at the leadership level of this institution.”
Prime Minister Marape said the overwhelming support of ICAC should prove to his critics that “I don’t just talk, I can deliver too”.
“The life of our Government is not just about building infrastructure, but also putting in place policies and laws for the good of our country,” he said.
“Keep watching – my Government will be passing game-changing laws for our country such as this.
“ICAC  law will save huge resources squandered and wasted through corruption.” 


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

PM Marape announces second COVID-19 case in PNG

PRIME Minister Hon. James Marape yesterday announced that the country has recorded its second COVID-19 case.

The Prime Minister said the second case was a 40-year-old female from the East New Britain Province, who developed a cough on March 23 and was admitted to the Nonga Hospital isolation ward three days later and treated for severe respiratory illness.

The patient has been isolated and quarantined.

An additional two persons under investigation from Nonga have tested negative.

The Prime Minister said the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team was now working on contact tracing.

Everyone who has come into contact with the confirmed case will be immediately isolated and tested as well.

A team of medical experts id being deployed to ENB to deal with contact tracing, isolation and treatment.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Controller of the State of Emergency and Police Commissioner, David Manning, had made a decision to lock down the entire East New Britain Province for the next 21 days.

Commercial flights in and out of East New Britain are restricted.

Strict measures are being taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the East New Britain Province and the country as well.

The Prime Minister called upon people of PNG to remain calm and further asked for their support and understanding.

He said, “These measures may be seen as an inconvenience to you but they have been put in place to protect you and your family."

The Prime Minister said the Government was diligently working towards ensuring that its citizens were protected.

He also received reports that a Papua New Guinean had contracted the coronavirus in Laos.

He said contact tracing wa also being undertaken for this person as well.

Prime Minister Marape encouraged Papua New Guineans to continue to faithfully observe and practice health messages that had been given out.

“Wash your hands; do not touch your face; cough into your elbow; maintain physical distancing at all times and lastly please stay home,” Prime Minister Marape said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

PM Marape updates on 14-day COVID-19 Lockdown

1. 14 Day State of Emergency

PM Marape updating last night. 
This is to ensure we have an isolation strategy so that we can
pinpoint if the virus is present in our country after the first breach
of security.

Please click below to watch video

2. The first case

Has been transferred to Australia fit and well on Monday (March 23) morning and will undergo further medical tests. The results will be made known to the

3. First case's impact assessment

We are doing steps retracing for the first case to ensure we have a map of
the impact (if any) so we can know correct statistics and put ins trategies to deal with the COVID-19.

4. State of Emergency   conduct

- Provincial  Governments  through  Provincial Administrators,  will
coordinate  with Provincial  Health Authorities,  Provincial  Police
Commanders  as lead agencies to handle awareness,  and coordination of
prevention  and treatment  at the provincial  level.

- No public travelling from district to district or province top rovince in country.

- All schools remain shut for 14 days, all-day students to stay at home and all boarding schools including universities and colleges are to maintain boarding of students but no classes are to be taught.

- Essential services will be maintained. That includes health services, public utilities, banks, shops, fuel stations, police and defence.

- All employers, including public services, should scale down workers in this period to ensure safe work place from the spread of Coronavirus.

- PNG Defence Force is on standby for call out to assist Police in this SOE period
and beyond.

- All spreading false rumours and organising public gatherings will be charged appropriately.

5. Economic Interventions

I had the pleasure of meeting with Central Bank, as well as all bank CEOs plus the two super funds, with the view that specific economic interventions be made for employees, individuals and business in our
country struggling as a result of this crisis we are in.


The COVID-19 has not killed one person yet in PNG. The only person who tested positive, after three tests, has left our country in a healthy state.

I ask our citizens not to panic.

Government will do everything
possible to stop from coming into PNG, stop  from spreading, and  stop from killing patients.

But in the first instance now, we want to map out our country within the
14 days to see which parts of our country ate attacked by the virus as a
matter of precaution.

Our people are asked to live healthy and clean. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

PM Marape announces 14-day lockdown

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape today announced a 14-day lockdown starting Tuesday, March 24, to arrest spread of the coronavirus.

PM Marape at today's announcement
Please click below to watch video

"Today, based on advice from the COVID-19 National Operation Centre (NOC 19) and National Security Council (NSC) recommendations, the National Executive Council, in an emergency meeting,  decided on the following measures in light of first positive case of COVID-19 in our country," he said.
" This is a national security issue now and not just a health issue, but a cross-cutting issue  including effects on economy, law-and-order and education of our children, amongst other effects.
"So far, we have done trace of the person that came into our country, and he remains to date our only positive person who is in isolation and recovering.
"To clearly demarcate our country from spread and for Government to take stock from this bio(security breach, we are taking the following measures.

" 1. Confirm this first case and its impact to ensure we contain it, including treating, curing and sending the victim back to Australia.

" 2. Take stock of all entries into PNG after 7th of March to ensure all are checked, tested and status of health affirmed. All who have come in or those that have come in contact with those who came into PNG since 7th of March are to report to the hotline below.

 "3. Declare a State-of-Emergency for 14 days starting on Tuesday, 24th March, in which the Commissioner of Police will assume control assisted by a callout placed on military to ensure lawful order, control and response to  SOE control measures.

" 4. Following on our stop of incoming international flights, we are now stopping all domestic flights for the next 14 days starting on Tuesday this week.

" 5. We direct that as of Tuesday, 24th March, 2020, no public transportation of people and no movement from one province to another for a 14-day period. Only approved cargo and medicine and police /military personnel will be moving. It is a 14-day lockdown in our country wherever you are.

" 6. The Provincial Governors and their Provincial Administrators, with Provincial Police Commanders and respective Provincial Health Authorities, will be control points in all provinces.

" 7. All heads of departments and private companies are to embrace safe workplace practice and non-essential staff are asked to stay at home for the next 14 days.

" 8. Education and Higher Education departments are asked to advance first-term holiday as of tomorrow, 23rd March, and the next 14 days are to be school holidays.

" 9. All who have come into the country as from 7th March, 2020, or those who made contact with those who came into the country from that date, please report, call or text the hotline below.

" 10. No border crossing by foot or canoe and police /army presence in border areas will be stepped up.

" 11. Banks, financial institutions and super funds will be mobilised to work with Government on economic packages in this down time.

 "12. The SOE Controller, through the Office of Prime Minister, will be the only official point of releasing statements to public.

" 13. The SOE Controller will issue details on how citizens and our country respond and behave in this time. Breach of these will be punished as offence in times of emergency.

" 14. ICCC will ensure prices of all goods are within lawful range.

 "15. We are setting a multi-sector agency task force to report to the National Security Coordination Centre 24/7.

" 16. All foreign friends of PNG in our country: Your embassies and missions are  available including our Foreign Affairs Department, to assist you in this time of lockdown.

" 17. All these will be reviewed after the 14 days, during which we would have mapped the presence of COVID-19  in our country.

" 18. PNG is a Christian country. We declare that Wednesday , 25th March, 2020, becomes a national day of fasting and prayer. For the next 21 days, prayer and fasting can continue for those who want to do it.

" We have now divided the country into zones to isolate this virus from spreading.

" 1. Mid PNG Zone from Morobe and Madang Provinces into the entire Highlands.

"2. Central Papua ( including NCD, Central and Gulf).

" 3. New Guinea Islands Zone.

"4. Sepik Zone.

" 5. Western Border Zone.

"6. Eastern Papua Zone.

" 7. Bougainville Zone.

"The SOE Controller will delegate the PPCs to police the zones to ensure compliance to these control measures.

" We will get through this phase.

"We ask for cooperation from all citizens, residents and businesses houses.

" Hotline toll free-number is 1800 200 and Bmobile 019, Digicel 71960813.

"God bless PNG." 

Saturday, March 07, 2020

PM Marape welcomes new Fijian High Commissioner

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, this week, welcomed the new Fijian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mosese Tikoitoga, in Port Moresby (pictured).

During the courtesy call paid to the Prime Minister by H.E. Tikoitoga, PM Marape outlined the warm and friendly diplomatic relations between the two countries, formally established on September 16,  1975.

Their discussions included the success of the two governments’ steadfast contributions to strengthening bilateral relationship in the areas of trade and investment, people-to-people connectivity, agriculture, tourism and sports, amongst others.

PM Marape also extended his deepest condolenced to the family of the former  High Commissioner, who passed away recently.

PM Marape acknowledges Japanese infrastructure aid

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, has thanked and acknowledged Japan for the significant major infrastructure developments around Papua New Guinea.

He made these remarks while welcoming Japan’s new resident Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mr Kuniyuki Nakahara (pictured) , in Port Moresby this week.

Monday, March 02, 2020

PM Marape commended by Solomon Islands and PNG business leaders

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has been commended by the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea business communities for promoting business links between the two countries.
PM Marape took a plane load of mostly business executives on his first Official Visit to the Solomon Islands from last Thursday until Saturday.
PM Marape enjoying a presentation at Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) outside Honiara on Friday. GPPOL, one of Solomon Islands' biggest export revenue earners, is a subsidiary of PNG's New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.

He was guest speaker at a business luncheon hosted by the Solomon Islands’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Honiara last Friday.
Business links were also forged during the three-day visit.
Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board Chairman, Jay Bartlett, commended PM Marape for his initiative in strengthening business links between the two countries.
PM Marape with the top management of Guadcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd outside Honiara on Friday.

“As we take this opportunity for inter-personal networking, I do hope this will culminate in closer focus between our countries,” he said.
“I do believe that it’s time that we must seriously consider the establishment of an annual Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands Business Forum.
“A forum that has alternating hosting cities of Port Moresby and Honiara.
“In fact, this gathering today, is in essence the very notion manifesting itself.
“I believe that it’s not a coincidence that two of our very own Prime Ministers, who have instigated this opportunity, are here today.
“Whilst we seek their blessing, we also stand ready to progress this forum as partners, as friends, and as wantoks.”
New Britain Palm Oil Ltd Country Manager and former PNG Business Council President, Robert Nilkare, said the visit augured well for the future.
New Britain Palm Oil Ltd Country Manager and former PNG Business Council President Robert Nilkare addressing the business luncheon in Honiara.

“This is probably the start of a business relationship where both the Business Council of Solomon Islands, and the Business Council of Papua New Guinea, get together on a regular basis,” he said.
PNG Business Council member and Credit Corporation CEO, Peter Aitsi, said the PNG delegation appreciated the opportunity made available by PM Marape.
“I think, with the commitment shown by the Prime Minister, we now have a platform on which we can have regular dialogue with our business partners, and equally, for Solomon Islands’ business to have interests in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“The objective for us now is to set up an annual forum, whereby business leaders from both countries, can be able to meet and progress those investment opportunities.”
Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director, Clarence Hoot, said the Marape Government should be commended for its initiative.
Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director, Clarence Hoot, using a Bank South Pacific ATM in Honiara. BSP is one of several PNG companies with a strong presence in Solomon Islands.

He said although the economy in Solomon Islands was small, as compared to PNG, “going there and showing that we are willing to invest is a good thing that is commendable”.
“We went with a full team of business, who were very happy with what they’d seen, and discussions are already ongoing,” Hoot said.
“One or two people (from PNG) have already registered their businesses in Honiara, and we look forward to providing the support.”

Sunday, March 01, 2020

PM Marape meets PNG community in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape had an emotional meeting with members of the Papua New Guinea community in the Solomon Islands on Friday.
PM Marape met the community, including children, who live in the Solomon Islands but still maintain ties with PNG.
PM Marape with PNG children at the PNG Chancery in Honiara on Friday.

They included PNG men and women, who are married to people from Solomon Islands, and now settle there.
PM Marape was also shown around the impressive PNG Chancery by Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr John Balavu.
PM Marape addresses the PNG community in Solomon Islands on Friday. He is flanked by PNG's Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Dr John Balavu.

PNG girl Diana Ruby presents a painting to PM Marape at the PNG Chancery in Honiara on Friday evening. Members of the large PNG community thronged to the Chancery to meet PM Marape .

A painting gift for PM Marape from PNG girl living in Solomon Islands Amelia Kairi.

PM Marape meeting members of the PNG community in Solomon Islands. 

He told the PNG community that PNG was still the “most-diverse nation on Planet Earth”.
“That God-given diversity has held our country together, amidst many challenges that we have, the saddest so far being the Bougainville issue,” PM Marape said.

State Enterprises Minister Sasindran Muthuvel, PM Marape and Investment Promotion Authority Managing-Director Clarence Hoot meeting the PNG community. 

“We’ll work our way through, from where we are today.
“God has been kind to us, God has blessed us with so many resources, from the sea in the coastal areas to the mountain tops.
“Since 1975, we’ve made mistakes along the way, in terms of how we harvested our resources.

PM Marape with PNG High Commission staff. 

“About six weeks ago, I addressed mining and oil and gas developers in Brisbane.
“I told them: ‘Papua New Guinea and her people will pay highest price for the extraction of resources happening in our country. None can be more exemplary than the Panguna Mine. Well after the miners have left, 30 years on, we still pay the price of the legacy of that mine.The highest price is that one part of our country wants to go. We deserve a better deal that what we’ve been getting thus far. That’s because we’ve learnt’.”
PM Marape urged the PNG community in Solomon Islands to contribute what they could, including ideas, towards bettering PNG.
He said he had found time, amidst the many challenges in PNG, to establish connectivity in Solomon Islands “as a very important nation to us”.
“They (Solomon Islands) stood with us every step of the way,” PM Marape said.
“In the face of the Bougainville Crisis, for instance, they were there for us, assisting Bougainvilleans, assisting us, to find peace again.
“Many of our children are half Solomon Islanders, there are also half-Solomon Islanders living in PNG, so we are already intertwined and we are here to stay, as long as we exist until Jesus comes back.”
PM Marape promised the PNG community that his Government would give its “best shot” to make the country a better place in the future.
“Thank you for having faith in your country,” he said.
“Remain positive.”

PM Marape commends PNG oil palm company for work in Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has commended Papua New Guinea company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL) for the work it is doing in the Solomon Islands.
He said this after meeting management and staff, and visiting facilities, at NBPOL’s Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) outside Honiara on Friday.
PM Marape checks out fruit at the GPPOL facility outside Honiara on Friday. 

GPPOL, which used NBPOL management and expertise from West New Britain to start off, is now one of the biggest export revenue earners for Solomon Islands.
Lab Superintendent Lawrence Heromate (left) takes PM Marape through the palm oil process at GPPOL on Friday. 

It is also allowing 20 per cent landowner participation in the business, something that PM Marape applauded, saying it should set the benchmark for other PNG companies wanting to invest in Solomon Islands.
Children of employees, waving PNG flags along the roadside, welcomed PM Marape to GPPOL on Friday.
PNG flag-waving children welcome PM Marape to GPPOL outside Honiara on Friday.

“We want to allow for this sort of business to grow (in Solomon Islands),” PM Marape told GPPOL management and staff.
“I am happy about the way in which this company has allowed for local participation, SME involvement, even locals holding equity in the business.
“It’s a good model which is happening.”
GPPOL General-Manager Craig Gibsone said the company was the Solomon Islands’ operation of NBPOL.
“We’re a lot smaller than New Britain Palm Oil,” he said.
“It’s 7000 hectares, with just under 7000 (ha) is the estate and the smallholders 700 (ha).
“We produce about 160,000 tonnes of fruit every year and we export 40,000 tonnes of oil.
“We have 1300 to 1500 employees and run a mill.”
Mr Gibsone said GPPOL had been operating in Solomon Islands since 2005 after taking over from the previous owner.
“NBPOL came in and rehabilitated those estates,” he said.
“While production started after one year, it actually took over five years before the full rehabilitation was completed.
“NBPOL owns 80 per cent and the local landowners own 20 per cent.
“We don’t own any land: We lease the land off the landowners.
“They benefit through rentals, royalties, and when the company makes a profit and declares a dividend, they’re entitled to 20 per cent of that.
“Them (landowners) being supportive of the project is key to our success.”

PM Marape urges Solomon Islands and PNG businesses to go into agriculture, fisheries and tourism

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has urged businesses in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to look more into agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
He said this in Honiara on Friday when addressing a business luncheon attended by the business community in Solomon Islands as well as a large business delegation from PNG.
PM Marape addressing the business luncheon in Honiara on Friday. 

PM Marape said there were about 52 PNG businesses in Solomon Islands, which could grow even more, and likewise urged Solomon Islands’ businesses to set up in PNG.
He said that Asian market was a growing and affluent one that needed organic food, clean water and rest-and-recreation.
“The affluent of Asia will be looking for good food, clean water, and rest-and-recreation,” he said.
“These things we have in Solomon Islands and PNG.”
PM Marape said Solomon Islands and PNG could take the examples of Israel and New Zealand, who although were small, were now agricultural powerhouses.
He said the global demand for fisheries products was increasing and this was where the two countries could make an impact.
“My fisheries minister was advising me that Pacific Islands’ waters hold 70 per cent of the world’s tuna supply,” PM Marape said.
“Tuna belongs to this ‘healthy food’ that I was alluding to.
“Solomon Islands and PNG can combine into those spaces.
“We don’t need skyscrapers, big technology hubs, to rush into the spaces of other nations.
“I propose to us today: Look into the space of food and look into the space of tourism.”
PM Marape said PNG could be like New Zealand, however, “we are lazy ourselves”.
“We want the easy money from oil and gas,” he said.
PM Marape pointed out the example of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd, a subsidiary of PNG company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, which was now one of the largest export earners for Solomon Islands.
“I encourage the rest of us Papua New Guineans and Solomon Islanders to think big,” he said.
“God has already blessed our land and resources at strategic locations.
“The market place is there for us.”
PM Marape said he and Solomon Islands PM Hon. Manasseh Sogavare had talked about providing incentives for businesses from the two countries to grow.
“I’m an advocate of agriculture and sustainable business,” he said.
“Whilst other business are important, I know that every day, I will not be looking for gold and gas: I will be looking for food.
“Solomon Islands and PNG, from our seas and from our land, using technology, can supply Asia.”

PM Marape and PM Sogavare sign bilateral agreements in Honiara

Prime Minister James Marape and his counterpart Manaseh Sogovare on 28th February 2020, during Prime Minister’s Official Visit to Solomon Islands, signed two important bilateral documents.

Prime Ministers Hon. James Marape and Hon. Manasseh Sogavare signing the bilateral agreements in Honiara on Friday.

Prime Ministers Hon. James Marape and Hon. Manasseh Sogavare after  signing the bilateral agreements in Honiara on Friday.

These two documents are:

  1. Framework Treaty Guiding Relations between the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

This is the overarching framework treaty that provides the principles guiding the relations between our two countries. This Treaty was first signed in 1995 and was than reviewed in 2004. The Treaty has now been reviewed for the second time and signed by the Prime Ministers. This Treaty is a key overarching document that entails our bilateral cooperation and how the Governments of the two countries can work together. 

  1. Framework Agreement on Development and Economic Cooperation 

This Framework Agreement signifies a positive development in the PNG-Solomon Islands bilateral relations. This framework agreement is the mechanism that will pave the way for greater sectoral cooperation. 

The areas of cooperation by mutual agreement include but are not limited to the following; 

  • Agriculture
  • Air Services 
  • Bilateral Trade Arrangements 
  • Climate Change and Environment 
  • Defence and Security Cooperation
  • Double Taxation
  • Education and Human Resource Development 
  • Health and Medical 
  • Investment Promotion Protection
  • Marine and Fisheries Cooperation
  • Mining and Energy 
  • Tourism and Culture

Prime Minister Marape has reiterated that this relationship between the two countries goes deeper than the political partnership.

“Our relationship predates the geopolitical boundaries that have demarcated us," he said. 

" We are a people that share a common cultural heritage and strong faith based values. 

“This Official Visit was aimed at enhancing the bilateral relationship and neighbourly cooperation with our Melanesian neighbour and to advocate for a greater economic partnership between our two countries through our businessmen and women. "

Prime Minister Marape led a delegation consisting of Four cabinet Ministers, one Vice-Minister, Government officials and affluent businessmen and women from PNG on the two-day visit to the Solomon Islands.

" This visit not only focused on the political agenda but also on our economic, developmental and social priorities, people to people links and private sector partnerships," he said. 

"The PNG Business Council members also had the opportunity to meet with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce.

" Trade and Investment is important as economic independence will lead to vibrant, happy and peaceful region. 

"It is the objective of the two Prime Ministers that both countries work together for common prosperity. 

"We need a strong and stable Melanesian region and these can only be achieved through deeper and more meaningful engagement and cooperation. 

" Our two Governments now look toward a new era of our relations with regular dialogue at the Leaders' level. 

 The Prime Ministers agreed to an annual Leaders’ Meeting and on the margins of the meeting, the business communities will continue to meet. 

Senior officials from both were directed by the Leaders to meet soon to review and finalise outstanding economic and social sector agreements including arrangements for 50 scholarships for Solomon Islands students to study annually in tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea between 2021-2025 and other arrangements.