Agriculture A Major Regional Opportunity For PNG

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The Papua New Guinea public had their say on APEC Food Security week at the third event of the APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct, which was themed ‘Growing the nation: Agriculture, Inclusive Growth and Regional Opportunities’.

The event was held on Tuesday 7 August at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and included a keynote address from Grahame Dixie, Executive Director of Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that catalyses action on inclusive agricultural development in South East Asia.

Mr Dixie said PNG can look to examples of South East Asian economies which have been able to kick-start their economic development by initially focusing on increasing the productivity of their smallholder farmers.

“The world is changing rapidly – creating both challenges and opportunities for farming. Agribusinesses need additional supplies of agricultural raw materials to supply the changing, expanding, and largely urban demand,” he said.
“The great opportunity is that agribusinesses have the capacity, through their buying power, to bring significant new sources of cash income into the rural economy – this is the fuel for eliminating rural poverty.”

Mr Dixie pointed to a case from Indonesia, where a coffee industry partnership between a major transnational corporation, nurseries, fertilizer companies, NGOs, certifiers, banks and local traders has lifted farmers’ harvests and improved the prices they receive.

He said this outcome was due to a combination of certification, competition and improved quality, and the tangible impact has been that around 20,000 farmers increased their coffee profits by more than 80 per cent – worth approximately US$12 million per year.

“In PNG the approach of creating and working with multi-stakeholder partners – typically comprising agribusiness, producers, civil society and government – can bring similar benefits,” Mr Dixie said.

“There are problems that cannot be solved by an individual company or institution, but can be tackled cooperatively.“

The event also included a panel discussion that featured Jane Ravusiro, Senior National Coordinator at the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA); Joeri Kalwij, the Manager of Monpi Coffee Exports Ltd; and Max Puritau, Global Village Exports Managing Director.

The APEC Discussion Series at the Precinct will continue next week on Wednesday 15 August with a discussion centred on APEC Health Security Week and the theme ‘Ensuring the Region’s Health Security through Primary Healthcare’.

It will feature a keynote address by World Health Organization Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo.

The series was launched in May and gives Papua New Guineans unprecedented access to visiting international experts and the APEC discussions taking place throughout 2018.

It is hosted by the PNG APEC Secretariat and the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct, supported by the PNG – Australia Partnership, and explores APEC themes and policy issues relevant to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

As the 2018 APEC host, Papua New Guinea will hold approximately 200 meetings with up to 15,000 delegates, including global business and government leaders, policy and technical experts and academics.

The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct is a partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia to support the development of ethical and capable leaders.

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/

Ecotourism And Blockchain In Papua New Guinea

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By Staff Writer

VERY few people can imagine their daily life without digital gadgets, which have already turned into the best friends and have become absolutely irreplaceable.  People are used to comfort and expect to find it wherever they are. Social media platforms were developed to connect friends who are distances apart.
Internet was developed by US Army for the primary purpose of having a defense network that could function in the time of a nuclear war. But later the technology was used on other platforms and now is the global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities that become everyday use and provides daily reliance of things.
Blockchain is then a growing list of records on the internet, which are linked using cryptography or cryptology. Cryptography is then being understood as the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries or enemies.
So blockchains which are readable by the public are widely used by crypto currencies or virtual currencies. Bitcoin is one example of a virtual currency or crypto currency.
Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 for the use in crypto currency or virtual currency and is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure transactions and to control the creation of new units. Satoshi Nakamoto sounds like some Russian name but in fact is not the name of a ‘real’ person but is a name used by an unknown person or a group of unknown people who developed Bitcoin within the Blockchain.
Crypto currencies are a division or subsets of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.
Bitcoin become the first decentralized crypto currency in 2009, a year later blockchain in 2008.  Since then, numerous crypto currencies have been created and are still creating. One might wonder why crypto currencies are continuously being created. Well, think of it in fiat currencies or banknote currencies of each nation. Fiat currencies are created and distributed to aid the ancient barter system within a calculated geographical location under a sovereignty or autonomous governance or control.
As it is circulated within a confined system, the fiat currency is issued, centralized and controlled by the administration and its bank. So fiat currencies are created and issued by the administration which is usually a government while crypto currencies are created by computers and stored in a public database (blockchain) and are decentralized meaning crypto currencies are not owned by one entity like a bank or an administration.
In Papua New Guinea society, we define the traditional barter system by practice and our way of life. For example in the highlands, the traditionally ceremonial barter system is called Moka in Western Highlands where exchanges of goods for goods take place, pigs and kina shells were exchanged during the Moka ceremony. In one Western Highlands society, the word is Moka, and to the rest of Papua New Guinea there are about different 840 words which each describe the barter system better within each different linguistic group, tribes or ethnical groups where we come from.

So in a way, it is that simply and easy for blockchain technology and its crypto currencies to be adopted into our society as were already been living in a communal society – a society conducive for crypto currency and blockchain to breath.
PNG Government is very keen to adopt the blockchain technology into the government system, with the Central Bank of Papua New Guinea is lobbying to have use blockchain to cater for a majority of the 8-million people are not into the banking system and use blockchain for financial inclusion.
Recently, NCD Governor Powes Parkop was supporting a blockchain technology event to hold in Port Moresby.  The Governor believes that this breakthrough and disruptive technology is a vital stepping stone in the country’s development.
“Blockchain Technology is taking the digital world by storm with its applications in digital currencies, ledger structures, decentralized identity, markets, and basically any working system or information that can be stored and operated via this decentralized database,” Mr. Parkop said.
“The application of this technology in systems of governance and service delivery throughout Papua New Guinea will provide levels of efficiency and transparency which are currently desperately lacking in the country,” he added.
Blockchain Pasifik, a Port Moresby-based entrepreneur cluster, is hosting the event from 11th to 12th October is looking to bring together experts in fields ranging from banking and digital commerce to combatting corruption, from PNG and abroad to the nation’s capital in a two day event which will formally introduce Blockchain technology and its many benefits to Papua New Guinea.
The Blockchain Pasifik team is comprised of local Papua New Guineans headed by Rex Paura who is a co-founder of Con-Sure, a Port Moresby-based 100% nationally owned local insurance company using the blockchain technology platform.
Blockchain technology is such a disruptive technology that will change the world how we do things.  Banking is the first industry blockchain has tapped into and gradually moving out to other industries.
The areas that blockchain will impact or is impacting are financial services and banking, publishing, real estate, healthcare, music, government, insurance, charity, digital marketing, job marketplaces, crypto currency exchanges and more coming on board.
In the Digital marketing area, tourism industry has found itself in there. Every other industry is tied to the travel industry and thus blockchain impacting other areas will come to tourism sector.
Throughout the world there are so many projects on tourism and blockchain. Deskbell Chain is a blockchain platform of tourism and hotel industry. It is a blockchain-enabled platform of socialization, marketing of hotel and travel businesses as well as offering flexibility in check in time for customers in a hotel setting.
The lesson here is, in whatever industry financial mechanisms favor one party over the other, blockchain can come in to equalize the system and ensure that everyone gets their fair cut.
It has the key to increase the average number of guest checking in thus remains the best digital strategy for a modern hotel.
Blockchain which enables hotels to get out important information to the guests and keep communication with them via chat. What is more, it also sells the site to promote their services. For tourists, DeskBell service serves as a guide and compass in the life of the hotel. DeskBell automatically determines the hotel, in which the tourist is located and provides accessible information, making the stay more comfortable and active. DeskBell Service includes several ready-made technological solutions.
Deskbell Chain project is managed by Constanta Investments, a company registered in Estonia, Northern Europe has partnered with a local Papua New Guinean registered tourism e-marketing company, Howarig Traders.  In this partnership, Howarig Traders will implement the project to local SMEs in the tourism sector to have access to the global tourism marketplace. In particular, Howarig Traders is targeting ecotourism businesses as its vision to reduce carbon emissions and support environmental friendly tourism businesses.
Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI) through a survey conducted in 2011 established that there was a distinct lack of support for small medium and micro enterprises (SMME) operating in the Pacific Islands tourism sector.

“Most of the smaller tourism operators we had contact with weren’t visible on the Internet, so we decided to develop a program that would change that,” said Manager – Investment & Tourism at PT&I’s Sydney Office, Chad Morris.

Tourism market access for SMEs in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island countries is the biggest challenge for the region. Most of these SMEs operate within the ecotourism space.
Deskbell Chain, through its partner in PNG and Pacific region will bring to the local SMEs the global tourism marketplace.
SMEs operators will have the opportunity to increase their profitability and making their presence on the blockchain-enabled platform.  The Deskbell Chain project can be accessed via, http://deskbell.io/
SMEs who wish to registered on this global tourism marketplace platform can email: howarig18@gmail.com

Source :  http://news.pngfacts.com/

WHO says spread of Polio in PNG is high

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The World Health Organization has classified the further spread of polio in the country as ‘high’.

In a statement, the WHO’s country representative, Doctor Luo Dapeng, says this is due to the substantial vaccination coverage gaps across the country.

The statement was in relation to the discovery of a third polio case of a three year old boy, this time, from Mulitaka in Laiagam District in Enga Province, which has created concern at the National Department of Health, and labeling polio as spreading geographically.

Dr Dapeng says the identification of the third polio case highlights the importance of maintaining high levels of routine vaccination coverage and effective surveillance systems for early detection.

Dr Dapeng says the virus can emerge in populations which are inadequately immunized.

He says in many provinces, including Enga, the vaccination coverage is far below the required level.

The National Polio Response Emergency Operations Center is currently updating its risk assessment and planning the enhancement of response operations, including possible expansion of vaccination to the entire Highlands Region.

NBC News/PNG Today

 

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/

New Study Reveals Dangers Inherent in Land Registration in PNG

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Customary land registration processes can easily be captured by local ‘big men’ and companies with disastrous consequences for local people. This is the conclusion drawn in a study on recent oil palm expansion in Papua New Guinea by academic Caroline Hambloch from the University of London.

Hambloch’s findings are based on three months field research in East and West New Britain and are presented in a paper titled ‘Land Formalisation Turned Land Rush’. The paper was presented at a World Bank conference in Washington earlier this year.

The paper demonstrates how land registration processes, rather than protecting customary land, can easily be used to disenfranchise local communities and alienate them from their land. This is because of an environment of weak governance and huge power and information imbalances.

Hambloch details how PNG’s weak or non-existent state capacity for regulation and enforcement of laws have been exploited by logging/oil palm companies who have surpassed various government agencies.

The results have been disastrous for local communities. They are experiencing worsening poverty, increasing wealth inequality, increased conflict and a lack of basic service provision such as roads, schools and health centres.

The study is very important for Papua New Guinea as it exposes and debunks the myth that land registration or ‘formalisation’ is necessary to generate income, improve productivity and drive development.

This is a theory that has long been backed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Bank and foreign governments and has therefore dominated the development discourse in PNG. It is frequently repeated by government Ministers, industry bodies and ‘think tanks’ although it is not supported by the evidence.

Hambloch’s study reveals that rather than increasing agricultural activity and national income, customary land formalisation has had the opposite effects, deepening poverty and retarding economic growth.

It has also ‘exacerbated deeply-rooted, pre-existing power relationships at the national and local level, as local powerful ‘big men’ have abused their power to exclude other customary group members from land decisions’.

Hambloch argues that further understanding is needed of the nuances of customary land tenure and to detail the power relationships within communities and at a local and national governance level if land policies are to successfully address economic and development goals.

The study looks in detail at four recent oil palm projects in East New Britain, Sigite-Mukas, Illi-Wawas, Kairak and Sagamar. The author examines their histories, legal status, ownership structures and agricultural feasibility as well as their regulation, the underlying relationships, local conflict and economic performance.

The author argues the recent oil palm projects are ‘non-inclusive and unsustainable’ and ‘effectively unregulated’. They have been initiated primarily as logging projects and are geographically unsuited to oil palm. The land formalisation process was dominated by a select group of actors in patron-client relationships. This has led to local and provincial government departments being sidelined, land consultation and awareness with local communities being completely neglected and many people,especially women, not being involved in decision making. There was no proper awareness and consent, agreements are unreasonable and unfair and rents negligible and ‘insufficient for the economic development of affected communities’.

Weak governance and corruption are the major inhibitors to economic development in Papua New Guinea and are preventing equitable income generation and wealth distribution.

This means attention should be focused on strengthening state institutions to ensure transparency,explicit oversight and effective monitoring of large-scale projects. At the same time customary land tenure should be legally recognised and user rights protected while systems are put in place to ensure free prior informed consent and equitable and fair benefit sharing.

Photo: New oil palm planting and mill in Pomio District, ENBP./ ACT Now

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/

Policy reforms in PNG needed for digital economy engagement

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POLICY reforms are needed for Papua New Guinea to realise its goal of having more of its citizens in the digital economy, says Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic committee chair Robert Logie.
He said it was a first for an Apec host nation to “put the digital economy front and centre as part of their overarching theme for the year”.
“Obviously, this is the priority for the government of PNG,” Logie said.
“They want to have their people take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy as soon as possible.
“For that, you need certain policy reforms. You need policies that encourage the rapid roll-out of high-speed internet, for example.”
Logie noted how PNG had also emphasised the importance of sustainable growth and the need for economic inclusion for Apec meets so economic benefits were shared.
“During Apec’s structural reform week in Port Moresby next month, we will discuss concrete ways that structural reforms can support increased trade and investment, including digital trade, and make sure that everybody benefits from the digital economy,” he said.
“Structural reforms often take a few years to bear fruit.
“By making better rules, you give businesses and other actors an incentive to change their behaviour – for example, to innovate more, to become more competitive, more export-oriented.
“But it takes time for that to happen. Businesses need to have confidence in these new rules.”
The Apec economic committee is also looking at ways economies can use digital platforms to get public input on policy changes.
“Public sector governance is one area we are looking into, specifically how to harness digital tools to make public consultations less expensive and more effective,” Logie said.
“This can increase buy-in for structural reforms and make the rule-making process more inclusive.”

 

Source :  http://tech.pngfacts.com

Zero Tolerance on ethnic clashes in Port Moresby

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The National Capital District Commission maintains that it wants zero-tolerance on ethnic clashes in the city, following its nasty head resurfaced last week at Morata’s mosquito street.

The week-long ethnic clash started last weekend over a land dispute between Awena of Eastern Highlands province’s Kainantu district and Kumbin community of Enga province.

Governor Powes Parkop warned that demolition of houses and vagrancy were being considered as a deterrent to ethnic clashes in the settlements.
He decried the fight as backward.

Mr Parkop said since taking office in 2007, he-through the commission-had initiated programs and policies to promote mutual respect, unity, peace and harmony amongst city residents who are of cultural diversities, thousand tribes and 860 languages.

Continuous support towards sports, religion, Active City Development program, Settlement to Suburb upgrade program, school-fee assistance scheme and TVET, and urban youth employment programs were designed to arrive at this outcome, he emphasised.

He added that significant progress was made in this pathway, challenging the city dwellers to embrace high quality of life whilst doing away with such a ‘disease’ which impedes development.

The fight devoured two lives, several others injured and hospitalised, three houses and other properties burnt down to ashes.

Speaking to thousands who gathered this morning (Sunday, August 05, 2018)  at the Paga Hill ring road after the end of this week’s Walk and Yoga for Life, Mr Parkop said if they could not accept to respect each other and live in peace and harmony here, that showed that they were not fit to live together in the city.

He said the successful implementation of the initiatives had reduced it.

Governor Parkop said the Active City Development program’s WYFL was tailored towards advocating and promoting the outcome of residents realise mutual respect amongst each other and live in peace and harmony.

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/

PNG man stranded in Philippines due to unpaid medical bills after undergoing major operations

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A humble Papua New Guinean from Western Highlands is stranded in Manila, Philippines because he cannot afford to pay for the increased medical bills incurred during a major operation of mouth cancer. Win Kopul from Tambul district, married with four (4) children who resides in Port Moresby with his young family was diagnosed with a known mouth cancer. Before he encountered this sickness, he was a bus driver in Port Moresby.

In May this year, doctors recommended and advised him for an operation overseas before the cancer could spread to other parts of the body and eventually caused his life. His tribesmen, relatives and friends quickly acted to pledge and contribute in totally of K90,000.00 to save his life which he organized to fly to Malina for an emergency operation.

It was a success story that he spend the K90,000.00 together with a helper, William Topps, who accompanied him to Malina and the operation was successful. Win is now talking to his young family over the phone from Malina that he is slowly recovering and wounds from the operation are healing. That’s good news and the four lovely kids are waiting to see their daddy coming home soon.

However, the medical bills skyrocketed beyond K90,000.00 as the operation took almost three months interval, cutting parts of his body from his shoulder and his chest to replace the cells of the body that being destroyed by the cancer cells.

The balance of his medical bills now stands as K120,000.00 in PNG Kina and he cannot afford to clear off this money and currently waiting in vain in Manila. He send messages back home but the amount is way too high for his relatives, family and tribesmen to contribute.

His wife Theresa in Port Moresby said their last savings had finished when continuously sending money for his expenses in Manila and don’t know what to do next now.

She said she wanted to do some fundraising and thus giving out her mobile number and her husband’s bank account details for people who wanted to help to take back her husband and the father of the four beautiful kids to return home.

The bank account details are:

Account Name: Win Kopul

Account No#: 7013430298

Bank of South Pacific (BSP)

Contact Theresa (wife) on mobile: 71514984.

Or contact his friend, William Topp, who is currently with him in Malina on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/william.topex   or his other FB account at: https://www.facebook.com/willie.emm

 

Source: http://news.pngfacts.com/2018/08/png-man-stranded-in-philippines-due-to.html#ixzz5NURyyGAt