The Department of Agriculture and Livestock is working closely with aviation experts to design a concept to enable the direct export of organic fresh produce to overseas markets using air freight.
The ‘Agriculture in Aviation’ concept is an initiative aimed at promoting the country’s food crops and cash crops such as coffee and cocoa, and to establish markets.
DAL acting Secretary Daniel Kombuk says the concept is a catalyst to drive the Marape-Stevens government’s focus on agriculture. DAL has been challenged to find innovative solutions that can help address the plight of the rural people and grow the economy. It must also be supported and embraced by all levels of government and the agriculture sector and stakeholders.
Kombuk said the initiative, being proposed with the technical advice of aviation experts, both national and international, should be one good solution to transport PNG’s organic fresh produce to overseas markets like China, Singapore, Australia, and Middle East countries. It is working well in other countries like Australia, which currently transports 45 kilograms of fresh ripe eating bananas to Dubai.
The Agriculture in Aviation program, if successful, will unlock this country’s agricultural potential for economic growth by directly empowering farmers, stimulating SME businesses and boost the GDP, he said. He said a feasibility study will have to be carried out to determine the new concept and how it will work.
“Our fresh organically grown agricultural produce, mainly horticulture crops have a short shelf life, and therefore must be airlifted from the source of production to both domestic and international markets at reasonable logistic costs, complimented with appropriate facilities.”
He said PNG can be the food basket for countries that are located near it only if PNG can harness the current production capacity by rural farmers and strategize for increased production with emphasis on active extension services and build an effective supply chain mechanism to retain quality and freshness.