Council: Focus more on agriculture


THE agriculture sector is underdeveloped and underfunded, something the Government must address, according to Graham Ainui, the executive officer of the Rural Industries Council.
Ainui told a national development forum facilitated by Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council yesterday in Port Moresby that issues confronting the development of agriculture were far and wide.
“This is evident from the failed government agriculture development plan, which could be well described as the political pendulum for paper farmers based in Port Moresby,” Ainui said.
“The real PNG farmers and growers did not receive the kind of support promised to them under the plan.”
He said the Government’s attention was focused on developing projects in the non-renewable sector of the economy.
“This is important for fiscal reasons. But there is no similar corresponding effort to inspire the growth of the agriculture sector.
“This is dangerous situation because after all non-renewable projects come to the end of their lives, PNG will encounter challenges to sustain its economic growth and absorb the large number of people in the labour market, and the welfare of the majority of the population dependent on minerals and hydrocarbon projects.”
He said the commodity boards recently introduced their plans to develop their operations.
Ainui urged the agriculture industry to develop these plans.
“The department of agriculture must work with these commodity boards to ensure that the plans are adequately engaged in developing crops,” he said.

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