The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in November and re-lated official meetings are an opportunity for further investment in the agriculture sector.
Papua New Guinea will host APEC in 2018 and this provides the opportunity for de-velopers to come in and invest in potential agricultural projects such as livestock, vegetable farming, aquaculture, coffee, cocoa, rubber, spices, oil palm and others. Key priorities for APEC in 2018 are inclusive and sustainable resource development focusing on resource sectors, including forestry, agriculture, fisheries, mining and other extractive industries and tourism, and promoting Micro Small Medium Enter-prises in the value chain.
The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Dr. Vele Pat Ila’ava, made the comments during a field visit to an agriculture project in the Rigo District of Central Province on the 12th January 2018.
Dr Ila’ava said due to APEC being hosted by PNG Government in 2018 there will be more interest by potential investors in PNG’s agriculture opportunities and “we should be ready and prepared to welcome them.”
The Secretary and a team of officials visited the project site at Deugolo, along the Magi highway, about 45km east of Port Moresby, to check out possible agricultural projects that visiting APEC leaders and their delegates can visit during APEC meet-ings. The project at Deugolo, owned by local businessman and lawyer, Mr Turai Ele-mi, comprises of a piggery and vegetable farm. He has plans to expand into other ag-ricultural farming activities including inland fish farming and is working on an agricul-ture project expansion plan.
“The PNG APEC Authority and Department of Agriculture and Livestock are looking for possible sites to showcase current agriculture activities with the potential for fur-ther agriculture development.
“You have a very good set up here, it’s close to Port Moresby city, you have abun-dant land for agriculture development, plenty of readily available manpower and we just have to improve on it for APEC.
“The DAL has identified few possible projects in Central Province to showcase for in-terested APEC delegates to visit. The DAL is also liaising with Cocoa Board in Kokopo and the Coffee Industry Corporation in Goroka for projects for APEC delegates to visit.
“We want the APEC delegates to come and see the agricultural projects we have and the potential of further development with the support and involvement of investors from around the world.
“Hosting APEC in 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for PNG to showcase our vast untapped agriculture potential. We expect that investors in the various APEC delegations will be interested and willing to invest in the agriculture sector”
“Now the Government focus is on the agriculture sector to grow and drive our econ-omy, the APEC meeting in PNG in 2018 was timely. We must prepare and organise ourselves so that we can be able to capture the opportunities coming out of APEC to grow the agriculture sector and in doing so, grow the economy.”
Dr Ila’ava and his team, including Livestock Development Corporation’s general man-ager, Mr Vegofi Geani, and DAL’s director for the Southern Region, Mr Leka Mou, were impressed with Mr Elemi’s setup and agreed to work on the project proposal to recommend the piggery farm to be showcased to visiting APEC delegates.
Mr Elemi was excited with the visit by the high profile DAL team and assured them that he will work closely in preparing his site for the official visits. He told the team that through his project he has created employment opportunities for the local community and supported many people and groups.
“I am very honoured and I look forward to working with DAL in preparing and ex-panding the project for APEC.”
“The coastal zone is a drought prone area so I have personally invested in agriculture to support food security knowing it is the backbone of this nation and with DAL’s help will certainly boost production and productivity in time to showcase Central Province and PNG as a whole to the APEC delegates.”