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Governor: Agriculture sector promising for Morobe

Agricultural performance of the Morobe Province has reached another level with increased production in coffee, cocoa and taro by farmers over the last five years.

Morobe Governor Kasiga Kelly Naru told guests and farmers at NARI's 9th Agricultural Innovations Show at Bubia on May 4 2017.

Naru said the increase meant more farmers have put to practice appropriate research inventions and innovations; aligning to the show theme on 'Inventions and Innovations for a prosperous and food secure PNG: Research to Practice'.

The Governor said Morobe has seen an increase in coffee production by 25% from 10.9 tons in 2013 to 13.6 tons green beans in 2016, making it the second in provincial production ranking after Eastern Highlands.

He said this increased production resulted in a total revenue of K124.6 million of which an estimated K42 million went direct into coffee farmers' pockets.

Cocoa production rose from 920 tons in 2012/2013 to 5 700 tons in 2015/2016, an increase of more than 83%, Naru said, which values at K63.8 million. From this, more than K25 million goes directly into some 3000 growers. The province presently has more than 243 000 cocoa tress, taking up more than 4000 hectares under production with 530 fermentries. Morobe is fourth in provincial ranking after East Sepik, AROB and East New Britain.

Naru said taro production has picked up well lately after his government's intervention with over K2 million investment. Some 102 tons from 12 harvests since July 2016 have seen eight shipments (chillier containers) to the Port Moresby market on a monthly basis, fetching K127 500 so far. The production comes from 202 registered taro farmers but the initiative aims to increase to 250 farmers in 2017.

During the show, the Governor also presented K20 000 to NARI as part of the Morobe Provincial Government's sponsorship towards the event and K30 000 to the Cocoa Board.

He acknowledged the important role of research and new information that support farmers in improving their livelihoods through semi-commercial agriculture and vowed to continue supporting the sector in the province.

Morobe is one of the leading agricultural provinces in the country with quality produce in coffee and cocoa hitting international markets.

The Morobe Provincial Government has been a great supporter of NARI since its establishment.

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