18/01/2014 08:25

Most treasured PNG nut (buai) now good for bio-fuel?

By Fr. Giorgio Licini
Catholic Reporter
17 JAN 2014. The total buai (betel nut) ban in Port Moresby is going to remain in place, but not for ever. This was revealed this morning by officials from the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) at a youth seminar on social issues being held at St. John’s Catholic parish – Tokarara over the weekend. “Governor Powes Parkop is looking at a proper regulation of the betel nut trade and consumption – NCDC Acting Manager for Social Services Vincent Manukayasi said -; but for the moment we need a total ban. It’s a shock therapy to make people realize that they cannot continue littering the nation’s capital by undisciplined chewing and spitting”. Mr Manukayasi revealed that buai chewing costs the city treasury 10 million Kina a year in cleaning contracts.
Governor Parkop is basically forcing the city residents into an educational process. “People from certain provinces – Mr Manukayasi said - observe correct procedures of chewing betel nut in their homes and avoid spitting on roads and public places; but others don’t.” According to NCDC officials, as soon as the lesson is learned proper licenses will be issued for the betel nut trade; but chewing on vehicles and public places will remain absolutely prohibited.

Authorities are also looking into alternative markets for the Central province betel nut producers, normally supplying Port Moresby, to ship their products to the Highlands region via Kerema and Mendi. According to Mr Charlie Sarea, also from the NCDC Social Services and one of the speakers at the Tokarara youth workshop, studies are being undertaken to see if the betel nut components can be valuable for the bio-fuel industry; that way creating  a completely new source of income for the producers of the most treasured (and now controversial) PNG nut. (giorgiolicini@yahoo.com)