There is now a severe betelnut shortage in Morobe Province and in the Highlands and also here on Buka Island, and mothers are now depending on betelnut from Mainland Bougainville.
The betelnut being sold in Buka market and shipped to Lae are from the west coast areas of Kunua and Keriaka, big round nuts.
A boat owner who hails from the west coast area of Keriaka, Patrick Miaro told Loop PNG that his boat is now on hire every week by betelnut sellers.
“Due to the betelnut shortage in Buka and in Lae the demand for our Betelnut here has hit the roof top again,” Miaro said.
“A bag of buai in Lae is at K1000 per bag, especially the bail of rice, its Buka Rabaul and Kimbe supplying Lae now,” he said.
“In a bag of rice it can contain and accommodate up to 350 nuts and the flour bag can hold up to 400 or even 460 nuts,” Miaro said.
“It is now a very luxurious market but we need a proper market for buai to be set up by the government because we can make big money out of betelnut,” he said.
Up to a thousand bales of betelnut are being loaded onto MV Chebu very week out of Buka the ship is making money from freight, however, there does not seem to be any tax on the favourite nut.