EU supports PNG agriculture

Three major agricultural agencies in PNG have become the main beneficiaries from European Union under a K11 million project – Trade Related Assistance to PNG (EU TRAP).  

The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the National Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) have been assisted with

  • physical infrastructure,
  • institutional capacity and
  • individual training. 

Other government agencies were the National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology and PNG Customs.  

The EU TRAP project commenced in 2009 and will cease towards end of this year. The three main components are aimed at strengthening trade policy formulation and implementation, improving the quality control infrastructure, and supporting export activities.  

DAL has established its new agro-food and Codex section under the EU assistance which makes it capable of playing its role as a knowledge sharing and coordinator institution on food standards and sanitary and phytosanitary issues. It has also launched its sanitary and phytosanitary policy document, and established closer linkages with other Codex establishments at the international level.  

The NARI chemistry laboratory at Kilakila in Port Moresby has received a major supply of equipment, including state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostic and analytical services in agriculture and other natural resources, including water and soil.  

NAQIA has received laboratory that allows it to perform its veterinary inspection role with high reliability and accuracy. Other equipment will be used for NAQIA field work towards plant protection.  

In addition, EU TRAP has provided training for NAQIA veterinary officers in the field of quality management and food safety management systems.  

Overall objectives of component 2 of the project have been to strengthen the system of quality infrastructure of PNG, and thus increasing technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary compliance levels, and enhancing the competitiveness of PNG products in the international markets. 

Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to PNG, Martin Dihm, praised the government agencies for the collaboration which has led to some significant achievements which will enable PNG to benefit from its potential in international trade. The EU is convinced that trade is one of the most powerful engines of economic development and job creation for PNG. Hence, EU supports the development of PNG’s international trade in several ways. 

Mr Dihm was joined by senior officials representing the various government agencies who have benefitted from the EU project during celebrations in May, marking the achievements so far. He also handed over recently arrived laboratory equipment to the NAQIA laboratory at Kila Kila, Port Moresby. Other equipment will also be arriving shortly. 

He said the EU and PNG have concluded a Free Trade Agreement, the Economic Partnership Agreement, that offers PNG duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market and a unique access for PNG’s tuna. Thousands of jobs, mainly performed by women, are dependent on this agreement.  

The EU is also working on creating a PNG-EU business information centre, a one-stop-shop to strengthen the links between PNG and the EU private sector, which could further expand

PNG’s international trade as the EU is the largest trading block in the world. EU believes that trade policy formation and implementation, quality control infrastructure and export promotion activities need to be reinforced to maximise these benefits.

Source: Soldier Buruka (Department of Agriculture and Livestock)

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