The sweet taste of the Highlands for Australian Minister

New Guinea Fruits, with the support of Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF), is helping to revive beekeeping and improve honey production and value addition in the country.

The locally owned company operates in the heartland of beekeeping in PNG, with 95 percent located in the Eastern Highlands province.

The business buys honey from local beekeepers, processes it by removing wax and other foreign material and then packages it under its brand name Highlands Honey.

Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells visited New Guinea Fruits recently, as part of her visit to Papua New Guinea and was really impressed.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said supporting value addition initiatives is key to sustainable economic growth in Papua New Guinea.

“PNG has a wealth of high quality raw materials and it is encouraging to see businesses such as New Guinea Fruits innovating to supply honey to the local market.

“Australia is pleased to work in partnership with Papua New Guinea to support private sector initiatives that stimulate inclusive economic growth,” she said.

Many challenges remain for honey production in Papua New Guinea.

Only 15 percent of the honey in the market is locally produced, while the rest is imported.

Honey production is affected by high costs for equipment, challenges in accessing information about modern beekeeping practices, and more recently an increase in mite infestation.

Sally Watson, director of New Guinea Fruits, with a core business in fruit production, has been running the business for six years.

She shared the progress and expansion the business has made in recent years and the additional support it has received to improve honey productivity through its partnership with Australia’s Market Development Facility.

“With MDF’s support we can create much stronger links with the beekeepers and through trainings improve the quality and quantity of honey being produced,” she said.

“We want to see high quality, locally made honey competing with imports on the shelves of Port Moresby and across the country. Nurturing and developing the producers here in highlands provinces, and attracting more people to start keeping bees to produce honey, is crucial in achieving this,” she said.

The Market Development Facility is a private sector development program funded by the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Press statement