The Livestock Development Corporation (LDC) was established in 1983 to take over the responsibility and operation of various ranches, abattoirs and other activities operated by DAL. In 2004, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report on the PNG agriculture sector revealed that local livestock farmers were keen to expand their herds, for live cattle trade in particular, and expressed disappointment that LDC had no capacity to sell them breeding stock. The Government stopped funding support to LDC in 2014 and remains so today.
Presently, the livestock sub-sector contributes about 15% of the total domestic food production, and about 12% of the agricultural gross domestic product. This status has remained unchanged for over three decades. There is no significant export of livestock products and commercial production, except for pigs and poultry, has declined since the 1970’s.
Meat consumption in PNG on the other hand, has increased steadily over the last two decades, and is predicted to increase at a conservative rate of 5% per annum. Increased demand for meat is currently met by meat imports costing around K140 million per year. The poultry industry in PNG generates over K800 million annually and more than 80% of this is produced by out-grower farmers living in villages in rural areas. In addition, the poultry industry in PNG formally employs around 3,000 people, 90% of whom are women.
There is great potential for livestock farmers and farming groups to raise their productivity and output to match future demand for meat. For example, PNG has huge areas of grasslands for pastures, as well as providing opportunity for crop and livestock integrated farming. According to our land use data, PNG has over 400,000 ha of grassland suitable for grazing over 300,000 herd of cattle and producing nearly over 60,000 tonnes of beef per year. By improving pastures and increasing stocking rates, local farmers can significantly increase local beef production from current 2500 metric tonnes to 8000 metric tonnes.
LDC plans to focus on reviving the cattle industry in the short to medium term as poultry and piggery already have established private sector investments. DAL has secured funding and technical support from the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Europe, to use nuclear and other technologies including artificial insemination (AI) and innovative pasture improvement techniques to improve nutrition. This project is expected to run from 2018 to 2020.
Source: Extract from Ministerial Statement