PAPUA New Guinea’s agriculture export income in 2015 was less than half of 2011 levels, according to recent Bank of Papua New Guinea data.
Income from palm oil exports was at its lowest level since 2009, while coffee exports were less than half the value of four years ago and income from rubber exports almost halved in a year.
Some of the decline is attributable to lower export prices. The bank’s most recent Quarterly Economic Bulletin says in 2015 coffee prices were down from 2014 levels by 1.2%, palm oil prices fell by 18.5%, tea by 5.8% and rubber by 16.7%. Cocoa prices rose by 14.4% and copra by 1.3%.
The lower income was also the result of significantly lower production levels. The Bulletin noted that coffee export volumes declined by 11.6%, attributed to lower yield from ageing coffee trees combined with the adverse impact of the El Niño drought. Cocoa volumes also declined by 8%.
Higher coffee production from Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia put downward pressure on global prices with income being only 42% of the 2011 level. Coffee accounted for 29% of PNG’s agricultural export income last year.
The combined effect of the decline in prices and volumes resulted in a 22.9% decline of palm oil export sales. Palm oil constituted 61% of agricultural export income last year.
Rubber performed poorly. Volumes in 2015 declined by 31.3% from 2014. The Bulletin attributed this to the adverse impact of El Niño. Prices also fell significantly.
A long term comparison of total annual agriculture exports reveals volatility in the sector. Export income in 2015 was above the levels of 2009 and 2013, but well below the levels of 2010–12 and 2014.