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Pacific News Minute: Papua New Guinea's 33-member cabinet includes ministers for coffee, palm oil

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Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has announced his cabinet. And the positions include two that are believed to be the world’s first – ministers for coffee and palm oil.

Prime Minister James Marape won reelection earlier this month after an election plagued by violence, allegations of voter fraud and a large number of voters missing from the electoral roll. That’s according to a group of international election observers.

Marape announced a 33-member cabinet last week. He says the new post of coffee minister shows the government’s commitment to expanding key agriculture industries.

Papua New Guinea’s coffee has emerged as a money-making export in recent years, with cafes in Australia, the U.S. and Japan serving coffee made with beans grown in PNG.

The Guardian reports coffee production in the country is dominated by village-based small-scale farmers, who produce close to 85% of the country’s annual crop.

It is a source of income for close to two million people — around one-quarter of the population — according to the department of agriculture and livestock.

Coffee is the country’s second-largest agricultural commodity after palm oil, accounting for 27% of all agriculture exports.

Marape also named a minister for palm oil for the first time. It contributes to about 40% of PNG’s agriculture exports.

The Prime Minister says “The bulk of our people are subsistence farmers. We have land and we must encourage our people to go into agriculture production.”

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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