Posted By Staff Reporter
The recent decision by the Minister for Agriculture and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock to transfer the Apiculture function from the Livestock Development Corporation to Coffee Industry Corporation has not gone down well with farmers in the Eastern Highlands Province.
Secretary of the Eastern Highlands Agricultural Society and a senior member of the Highlands Farmers & Settlers Association, Mr. Thomas Solepa Arganisafa today called on the Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Tommy Tomscoll to immediately rescind his decision and leave the Apiculture alone or establish a new entity to take the Apiculture Industry forward. He said the decision to transfer the function came as a surprise as there no consultation with stakeholders in the Apiculture Industry and the move is very suspicious.
He said CIC has already have enough problems of its own. To start with, it has not even equipped every small coffee farmers in the country with tools necessary to increase coffee production annually. Despite small holder coffee farmers contributing to more than 50 % of the total annual coffee production in the countyry, they are yet to be given appropriate tools such as secateurs, knapsack, saws and even training in crop husbandry and post harvest management. Small farmers need to be encouraged to grow more coffee whilst most of the aging coffee plantations are in shambles and need rehabilitation.
He questioned how CIC will cater for the needs of a bee keeper/farmer when it is unable to cater for its small coffee growers because Apiculture is more technical as it deals with untamed insects. He said Apiculture is gaining momentum in Papua New Guinea with districts such as Bulolo in Morobe Provinces, Middle Ramu in Madang and provinces as such East New Britain, East Sepik, Autonomous Region of Bougainville taking keen interest. He said such irrational decisions of the Ministry and Management will only kill the Industry and urged the Minister to immediately consult the stakeholders in the Apiculture Industry and make a more balanced and informed decision on future of Apiculture Industry in Papua New Guinea.
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