The agriculture sector accounts for approximately a quarter of PNG’s GDP. Agriculture remains the principal economic activity which provides livelihood for 85 per cent of the rural population who rely directly on subsistence farming for their basic needs, having only little contact with the formal economy. According to the Bank of PNG’s 2021 Quarterly Economic Bulletin, for agricultural, logs and marine product exports, the weighted average kina price increased by 41.7 percent, compared to a decline of 18.7 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
PNG has fertile soils and a favorable climate which allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of cash crops particularly in the highlands, coastal, and some parts of the island regions. Production of cash crops is usually concentrated on plantations but significant smallholder production among rural communities also exists. Small scale farmers either sell their produce to the plantations, or to the numerous community boards acting as a centralized buyer and seller set up to stabilize prices and improve bargaining power. PNG’s main agricultural exports include cocoa, coffee, copra, palm oil, rubber, and tea.
The PNG fisheries zone of 2.4 million square kilometers is the largest in the South Pacific. PNG accommodates an extensive and valuable marine resource. Fishing operations range from small-scale coastal commercial operations to large-scale deep-water tuna fishing operations. The tuna industry has evolved from licensed harvesting by international fishing vessels and now includes in-country production and canning operations. PNG delivers 14 per cent of the world’s tuna catch and has an existing agreement with the EU to allow duty-free exportation of tuna to the region.
National Fisheries Authority (NFA), the government agency responsible for the growth and development of the sector, is progressing the PNG government’s plan to increase downstream processing of fisheries products to 50 per cent by 2025. In 2021 NFA reported that there was already 25 per cent progress towards achieving the 50 per cent target. The total market value of the PNG catch is estimated between PGK350 million (USD99 million) to PGK400 million (USD 114 million) on average.
The need for mechanization, refrigeration, and improvements to the quality of supply chains for agricultural produce offers significant opportunities for U.S. companies.
Private sector participation is promoted in the Fisheries industry in the areas of handling, processing, and marketing of marine products, craft construction, repairs and maintenance, engine sales and ice and fishing equipment sales. With the PNG government’s emphasis on more downstream processing facilities for fisheries, processing facilities are expected to be built over the next three to five years and U.S. companies can invest and provide technical services and equipment.
The Morobe Show is one of PNG’s celebrated annual events. It attracts visitors from all over the country and international tourists to Lae, Morobe Province. The event showcases a variety of agriculture, horticulture, livestock, commercial, industry, education, and culture activities, displays and events.
- Department of Agriculture and Livestock
- PNG Tourism Promotion Authority
- PNG Investment Promotion Authority
- PNG National Fisheries Authority
- Fishing Industry Association PNG