GAZELLE PEOPLE URGED TO TAP INTO COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE
Prime Minister, James Marape has called on the people of Gazelle in East New Britain to till their land for commercial agriculture.
He made the call at Kerevat, Gazelle, on Monday (May 9) when launching the Gazelle Agro Industrial Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
It is a project of the Gazelle District Development Authority (DDA) of MP and Health Minister, Jelta Wong, which will focus on its rich agriculture and tuna potential.
PM Marape said he had repeated that same message throughout the country that people must turn to agriculture, with his Government financially supporting that, through price support.
He said his Government was also supporting small businesses with K200 million every year given to National Development and Bank South Pacific for lending.
“Over the last three year, my Government has given price support to cocoa, copra, coffee and other commodities,” PM Marape said.
“Before we took office in May 2019, coffee was being bought at K4.50 per Kilogram, but we took it up to K6, and it is now reaching K10 coupled with high world prices.
“When we took office, the price of cocoa was about K4.50 per kg, but it is now going up to as high as K8.
“The price of copra was about K1 per kg, but after our intervention, this is gone up to as high as K5.”
PM Marape told the people that his Government had created these incentives for people to make money.
“Gazelle District has fertile land and good people,” he said.
“I want you to partner the district, province and National Government to grow the economy.
“Small-scale downstream processors, such as the ones I’ve seen today, need to partner with relevant Government departments and agencies.”
PM Marape also urged the people of Gazelle not to sell their land but register it to be eligible to get bank loans to start and grow agriculture businesses.
“I want you to go more into cocoa, copra and balsa,” he said.
“We can make so much money from our land, through agriculture, but are not using this to its full potential.
“I want you all to put more effort into commercial agriculture, and not just subsistence agriculture.”