Reform agriculture: Official


A MAN involved in reforms to the agriculture sector since 2013 fears that all the proposals he had been working on may come to nothing.
Dr Eric Omuru said it could become another wasted exercise such as the one in 2005.
Omuru is leading a team from the implementation and advisory unit responsible for the functional and expenditure review of boards and agencies in agriculture.
He told The National that the Government wanted agriculture reforms as part of the Alotau Accord of 2012, which the review was set up for. But it had done little about it when the work was completed.
The team was set up in 2013 to undertake the review, with recommendations brought to Cabinet in 2014.
Two bills to transform and revive the agricultural sector are still awaiting approval by Parliament. They are the Agriculture Investment Corporation Act 2015, and the Agriculture Administration Adjustment Act 2015.
Omuru, during the launching of the Coconut Industry Strategic Plan 2026-2025 in Alotau last Friday, criticised the lack of development in agriculture in the country.
“After 40 years of doing the same thing again and again, we have not seen the sector move forward,” he said.
“Somehow, we have been satisfied with mediocre. Our people still suffer while we see the sector take a nosedive.
“Our leaders talk about agriculture being the backbone of the economy but what we receive in terms of the resourcing to support the sector is less than two per cent (of the national budget).
“The sector contributes on average in the last seven years, 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. Translate that into figures, it represents about K3 to K4 billion.
“In return, the sector gets less than K200 million.”

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