Agriculture and downstream processing partnership forged

Minister for International Trade and Investment, Richard Maru has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wilmar International Limited.

Wilmar International Limitedis one of the world’s leading agriculture companies and the largest and most integrated leading agribusiness group in the Asia Pacific Region.

Maru described the MoU signing on December 2 as the “start of the agriculture transformation in Papua New Guinea”.

“This is the first time in our history that we are going into partnership with one of the world’s leading agriculture companies, in fact the largest and most integrated leading agribusiness group in the Asia Pacific Region.”

Wilmar International Limited is ranked amongst the largest listed company by market capitalization on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

At the core of Wilma’s strategy is an integrated agribusiness model that encompasses the entire value chain of the agricultural commodity business, from origination, to processing, barning, merchandising and distribution of a wide range of edible food and industrial products.

The group’s business activities include oil palm cultivation, oilseed crushing, edible oils refining, flour and rice milling, sugar milling and refining, manufacturing of consumer products, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat central kitchen products, specialty fats, oleo chemicals, biodiesel and fertilizers as well as food park operations.

Wilmar has over 500 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and some 50 other countries and regions, and has over 100, 000 employees.

“We want to partner Wilmar International Limited to invest in domestic rice industry, chicken, a new feed mill and flour mill in Port Moresby, in oil palm and sugar and to go into the downstream processing of palm oil in Papua New Guinea.

“We have the potential, but we do not have the capital nor the technology and the expertise to do this. Our Government’s priorities are downstream processing of our resources, increasing exports, creating value, and unleashing our vast potential in the agriculture space.

“We have been looking for a partner and we want to thank Wilmar International Limited’s Group CEO and Chairman, Mr. Kuok Khoon Hong and his board and management for making the decision to come and partner us,” said Minister Maru.

Then Acting Prime Minister, John Rosso said the signing of this MoU was a start of a very exciting journey for Papua New Guinea.

“We are excited, and we know that this partnership that we are embarking on will have a huge long-term benefit for our country in terms of job creation, increase in exports, downstream processing of our raw materials, and the creation of many new investment opportunities for our private sector, our landowners, our Provincial Governments, DDAs and the State,” said Rosso.

He further stated: “We are hoping that the first investment through this partnership will be in the chicken and rice industry which are our number one priority- these two are the low-hanging fruits which we want to start immediately so we can stop importing K200 million worth of chicken and K900 million worth of rice annually.”

Rosso said the state was prepared to assist in whatever way they could, including putting State Equity to assist in some investments.

“We are also going to look at inviting Provincial Governments and DDAs to partner Wilmar International Limited and also the private sector to co-invest with us in many of the big, exciting investments, including our Superfunds,” he said.

Minister Maru added: “We look forward to seeing this partnership take off to create jobs, increase exports, and generate good returns for you as a shareholder and our Government and the private sector partners who will invest with us in the agriculture projects.”

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