New Zealand is exploring the potential for a fresh produce wholesale market in Port Moresby, due to the increased demand for fresh fruit and vegetables from workers involved in the liquefied natural gas pipeline project.
New Zealand high commissioner to Papua New Guinea Marion Cranshaw said this at a traditional hangi (earth oven) picnic at the New Zealand High Commission at Waigani last Sunday to mark Waitangi Day.
“Our government is looking to shift its aid programme into areas of economic development as well,” she said.
“We are looking at how we can reform our aid programme into economic areas.
“One of our proposals is putting up a wholesale food market in Port Moresby to improve access to market in Port Moresby for fruit and vegetable sellers.
“We are also looking at how we can assist in rural agricultural development, because while Papua New Guinea may make a lot of money from the big projects, agricultural development is important for development.”
New Zealand believes there is scope to see wider social benefits from a market, particularly for women.
In the future New Zealand will look to support other market infrastructure developments in PNG.
New Zealand already provides strong support to strengthen PNG's agricultural sector.
This includes support for:
• Fresh Produce Development Agency, which links farmers and consumers of fresh fruit and vegetables
• Bris Kanda, which focuses on building commercially productive partnerships between rural communities and service providers in Morobe province; and
• A government extension programme to help rural farmers improve their agricultural and business skills.
Cranshaw believes that commercial relationships between both countries are the future.
Aid-wise, PNG is already the second-largest beneficiary of New Zealand aid to the tune of NZ$30 million (K57m) annually, after Solomon Islands.
“I think the future for New Zealand-Papua New Guinea relationships is in commercial relationships,” she said.
“I see that Papua New Guinea is a growing economy, with the ability to purchase New Zealand goods and services and that’s what’s starting to happen.
“New Zealand is still quite relatively small in the (PNG) market but we want to grow New Zealand’s place in the market.”
Cranshaw said a New Zealand trade mission would come to PNG in April to kick-start things.
“We’ll be looking at what other trade activities will follow that,” she said,
“New Zealand’s got good expertise in energy, some areas of infrastructure, engineering, and of course, food and beverages.
“In a way, I think New Zealand can help the development of Papua New Guinea by selling some of our expertise, because in that way, Papua New Guinea has the ownership of what they’re bringing.
“My focus on commercial engagement is not because it’s to New Zealand’s advantage, but it’s a way that we can help the development of Papua New Guinea and the ownership stays with Papua New Guinea.”