Ban on Australian poultry products will help Papua New Guinea industry, say farmers


Poultry producers in Papua New Guinea have welcomed a ban on raw poultry imports from Australia, saying it will strengthen PNG’s biosecurity regime.

Agriculture Minister, Tommy Tomscoll. Credit: PNG Loop

Agriculture Minister, Tommy Tomscoll. Credit: PNG Loop

PNG’ s Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll has imposed the indefinite ban, citing ongoing concerns about potential health threats.

‘Having considered the danger of campylobacteriosis, and in the light of the ongoing case of Newcastle Disease present also in poultry products from Australia … all uncooked poultry products from Australia are hereby banned immediately,’ he said in a statement.

As minister responsible for National Agriculture and Quarantine Authority, Tomscoll said he had a duty to protect citizens and residents from imported agricultural and livestock products which posed potential health threats.

This is not the first time PNG has imposed a ban on raw poultry imports from Australia. In November 2012, a temporary ban was put in place, following an outbreak of the H7 bird flu on one farm in New South Wales.

Positive for local industry

The President of the PNG Poultry Industry Association, Stanley Leahy, told Business Advantage PNG the impact of the ban ‘would be quite positive for us’.

Between 40,000 and 60,000 small hold farmers are members of the PIA, and in 2012, PNG’s poultry industry was worth approximately K750 million.

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‘We’ve had a couple of tough years and the ban will give us some stability in the market and more confidence in our biosecurity measures.’

He said filling the vacuum left by the ban would not be a problem.

‘For the last couple of years, we have all operated below capacity.

‘With this being a slower year, we are all sitting on a lot of stock at the moment.’

One company has cut production by 20% already this year so they will be able fill the void, he said.

PNG chickens. Credit: Tablebirds

PNG chickens. Credit: Tablebirds


Leahy said two independent reviews on the importation of poultry products are due to report by the end of the year. One will look at bio-security measures and the other is an economic review.

Leahy added that Fiji, Australia and NZ only allow cooked poultry to be imported.


Responding to the ban, the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby says Australia’s strong regulatory controls provided a high level of confidence in poultry meat exported from the country.

It says maintaining market access for Australian agricultural products, including poultry exports to PNG, remains a key priority for Australia.


  1. Micah Vines says

    Minister that is the right way to go. PNG must improve its local agricultural produce and reduce its foreign import. Will be interesting to see how much is our overall agricultural export compared to our import.

    Agriculture has great potential to employ more cititizens and bring in foreign reserves compared to Oil, Gas etc.

    We have been cheated and exploited for far too long. Our land and productive labour has not been engaged while unemployment continues to grow and our foreign debt keeps growing as we borrow to keep afloat.

    Agriculture needs big improvement and emphasis by our government. We can not depend on non renewable resource sector… Three key industries needing attention are Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry…This is where our unemployed / unengaged labour force can be utilized.

  2. Well done Minister. The next thing to ban is rice […] PNG spends up to 700 million kina to import rice from Australia. We can produce ourself. It has been proven time and again.

  3. Francil Setua says

    I strongly support Minister Tomscoll’s decision on behalf the PNG Government and our people.

    Nothing is mentioned in the news piece or anybody’s argument in the forum so far about the fact that the Aussie poultry imports are coming in at “under processing” cost…that is to say, they are dumping. This is illegal. There are anti-dumping clauses of the WTO Agreements that are being flagrantly breached by Aussie exporters and importers. They do it because they think they will get away with it….and up until now they have!!
    On the issue of whether or not the grounds for the ban are reasonable, I believe bio-security is a valid concern if PNG is to develop it’s agriculture generally and particularly if PNG poultry industry is to develop to an export standard itself. To all the bush economists, how the heck do you think other country’s developed their industries? …Certainly not by letting cheap replacements flood through their gate.

    The arguments by some about the ban being bad economically are very short sighted when one considers that:

    – 1 kina spent in agriculture moves up to 8 times through the domestic economy, so all actions to protect and grow this vital sector are economically beneficial short and long term;
    – The benefits to ordinary PNG consumers were not readily apparent in the market from chicken imports from price surveys I have seen therefore only certain importers, traders and supermarket kings were the real beneficiaries of cheap imports, a lot of profit gouging has been happening…no real savings for ordinary PNG consumers; and
    – The Australian product being imported is the by-product of their fresh poultry market…otherwise turned into pet food or thrown in the dump……are we Australia’s rubbish bin?

    I look forward to the PNG Poultry Industry Association and the PNG Government’s release of the independent reviews at the end of the year. Hopefully by then the O’Neil government will see the sense of a ban for bio-security and economic reasons.

    If anyone seeks to argue the case on the points raised above please bring facts to the debate that they can verify. I know I can.

  4. The reasons to justifies the ban was unsubstantiated and thus unhealthy for PNG’s economy. From economical perspective the move to ban imported products in free trade globalized world simply means isolating PNG from participating in the global economy flow of free trade of goods and services. The implication of the ban will have enormous effects on PNG economy. First, PNG revenue collection of Australia’s will be affected. Second, PNG consumer will carry the burden as local poultry prices will be expected to be high rocket soon. Again, it is not convincing to me that PNG will had the capacity and capability to produce poultry that will meet the world export standard compare to Australia.However, the move is an example of protectionism trade policy which carries consequential long term economical development for PNG. Looking at free trade shows that the rise of middle class countries like China, ASEAN, Brazil, and other rising countriesfrom the Southern hemisphere was resulted from the free trade participation of the global economy. The problem with most PICs countries including PNG was lacked of sound macroeconomic policies, financial institutions regulations, weak public polices and corruption. A good case to compare is PNG and Fiji. where Fiji tried to implement the above weaknesses of PICs saw them had a good economy growth while PNG the biggest land mass and populationwas dragging behind. Therefore, the move to ban or protectionism will put PNG backward in long term development despite its numerous resources it had.

  5. Carl Kuira says

    Thank you Minister! I believe this step takes us in the right direction to encourage local industries, even a villager knows how to raise chickens for meat… can you find ways to reduce the cost of feeds?

  6. Paul Flanagan says

    Bans on grounds such as these are good for local industry in the short-term but bad for PNG consumers and international competitiveness. Kakaruk is loved in PNG – and this ban will make it more expensive. Australia has used such “disease” grounds for many years – although possibly with better scientific underpinnings. I look forward to a PNG where its natural advantages in agriculture means that it will be exporting poultry products to all of Asia – at a better quality and price than from other competitors. This ban is a backward step from building a proud PNG industry ready for exporting to all of Asia and the world. It will also increase prices in all supermarkets in PNG.

    • Michael Dom says

      The ban on fresh poultry meat along bio-security lines may seem a tentative argument, but when very little is being or can be done to reduce the associated costs of poultry production in PNG, including imported feed, veterinary drugs, equipment, transport and storage facilities and services, how can a reduced price argument have any grounds?
      In fact it may be possible to demonstrate quality of carcass and nutritional value of meat products, where there appears to be a high fat percentage on the imported meat, compared to PNG birds.
      A self-sufficient poultry supply seems to be an appropriate objective, particularly when several thousand small-scale farmers also capitalize from the operations of commercial producers.
      In that scenario very strong arguments can be raised along the lines of food and income security for rural and peri-urban farmers.

  7. Xavier B Winnia says

    It is about time PNG should become independent. Simple things like we still need Australia to produce and spoon-feed us? This is ridiculous. […] Australia should concentrate on things I cannot do it myself. Why concentrate on taking Papua New Guineans’ place to produce and sell chickens, let alone, why come into my kitchen and let me what I should eat and where I should get it from? Its time to ban and burn them forever.

    I hope the Minister take it one more step and put a “Trade Embargo” to poultry import from Australia or anywhere else in the world, just as we have done to our Ramu Sugar…..YES WE CAN.

  8. Leo Gage says

    Good decision Minister NZ has a problem with the Australian Fruit Fly second time in 4 years and Australia says its a Isolated case not so

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