LONDON, CANADA - A new relationship is designed to help reduce the volume of vegetables that Papua New Guinea imports.
Papua New Guinea imports most of its vegetables from Australia.
Now a chain of grocery stores and the Fresh Produce Development Agency say they will work with a local farmers to help them supply retailers with fresh produce.
“Because there are so many farmers, we have selected those we consider can supply enough (produce) in required volumes,” Phil Ager, assistant general manager with RH Hypermarket, said. “They fully understand that quality is important.”
The Fresh Produce Development Agency will provide technical advice to fruit and vegetable producers.
The grocery chain will explore ways to buy harvests directly through airfreight services. Some vegetables arrive by vessel, which can create freshness challenges.
“Buying locally goes a long way to helping these communities financially,” Ager said. “Sea freight is currently being worked on, providing the produce meets our strict quality standards, as it takes up to three full days for sea freight but only one hour for air freight.”
Despite the reliance on vegetable imports, some sectors of Papa New Guinea’s agriculture industry are significant exporters.
PNG exported about K1.9 billion of palm and palm kernel oils to the European Union in 2017. The country also exports large amounts of coffee, cocoa beans and tropical fruit.