7 Oct 2013

PNG betel nut sellers already circumventing ban

4:45 pm on 7 October 2013

A researcher on betel nut sellers in Papua New Guinea's Port Moresby says there is already evidence of people finding ways to illegally sell betel nut in the capital.

The ban on selling, chewing and spitting betel nut in the capital began last week.

Vendors will eventually be moved to markets outside of the city to sell, and chewing and spitting can only take place in private.

A cadet researcher at the National Research Institute of PNG, Isidore Sitapai Pasanai, says the ban was a hasty decision, and it hasn't gone down well with sellers who are finding other means of selling the betel nut.

"We saw a lady putting betel nuts in egg cartons, so people are finding new ways of selling. But because of the ban, the price also will increase, we're talking about black-markets, say the betel nut was 50 toea, now we are looking at 1 kina 50."

Isidore Sitapai Pasanai says however the ban will be good in terms of changing attitudes about spitting in public.

Penalties for breaches betel nut rules will not be enforced until October the 28th.