Papua New Guinea: Fruit and vegetable imports restricted

Market traders selling vegetables in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea Image copyright Ness Kerton/AusAID
Image caption The policy aims to stop fruit and vegetables being imported if they can be grown locally

Papua New Guinea has banned a host of fruit and vegetable imports in an effort to boost domestic production, according to reports.

Carrots, potatoes and onions are among more than a dozen items which can no longer be imported from abroad, the Post Courier newspaper reports. Peas, lettuce and tomatoes will also have to be homegrown in future. The new rules were announced by Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll, who wants people to buy local produce wherever possible in order to help support small and medium-sized businesses. Mr Tomscoll says he will defend the policy if challenged in international forums, according to the paper.

The news caught the attention of China's Xinhua news agency, perhaps because the minister is also reportedly mulling a ban on products from Asia which don't have English-language labelling. Local farmer Berry Maip tells the agency: "It's not that locals can't produce quality and quantity, but it's the markets that have been dominated by imported vegetables that discouraged our people."

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