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.”