PNG MP to subsidise betelnut trade

2:17 pm on 16 April 2015

A Papua New Guinea MP, Sam Basil, says he will subsidise the betelnut trade in his district, Bulolo.

Betelnut trader, Papua New Guinea.

Betelnut trader, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Post Courier reports that Mr Basil has announced that the district's newly acquired plane, the Spirit of Bulolo, will be chartered every month to do the betelnut run to Lae starting in May.

The deputy opposition leader says the light aircraft has a 600kg weight capacity so will be transporting thirty 20kg bags of the nut from Bulolo's main villages every month to Lae.

He says he will pay half of the flight charter cost of just over US$2,000.

The villages are to also pay half, which will come out of their expected betelnut earnings of around US$4,300.

Mr Basil says he is subsidising the freight cost because betelnut was the villagers' only source of income.