Agri-business to be developed

Business, Normal

The National, Wednesday 08th Febuary 2012

A STUDY is underway to identify areas of opportunities for developing agribusinesses in the country.
The study being conducted through the enabling agricultural trade (EAT) project of the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), is aimed at identifying strengths and weaknesses of players involved, from smallholder farmers to the private sector, government agencies, research and development organisations, non-governmental organisations, women groups, co-operative societies and others who, in one way another, are engaged in agriculture development in the country.
During a visit to NARI headquarters in Lae yesterday, EAT representative Louise Williams said while the depth of relationship with the US and PNG may not be the same as that with Australia, the US government was still committed to creating an environment for agriculture development in the country.
Williams, who is part of the ‘Agribusiness Commercial Legal and Institutional Reform (AgCLIR)’ assessment team in PNG, said that countries like PNG would have to develop its agriculture sector as the majority of the people were still engaged in it.
She said PNG had a lot of potential in the agriculture sector compared to many other countries.
She added the purpose of AgCLIR was to identify key legal, regulatory, and institutional issues that are impacting production, efficiency and opportunity in the agriculture sector.
Williams, who has been involved with similar projects in Africa, said the project was aimed at assisting countries like PNG in targeting where their regulatory environments may favour or interfere with economic growth and investigate how these issues might affect the agriculture sector.
“Quarantine matters, marketing, transport, human resource development, and others issues that may be contributing to development of agribusiness opportunities are being looked at”, she added.
EAT project, funded by USAID, supports the US government’s global efforts to create conditions for agricultural growth.
USAID established EAT based on substantial academic and field experience suggesting that a sound legal, regulatory, and institutional environment was a pre-requisite to economic growth in the agricultural sector.
 EAT provides enabling environment and necessary tools that identify, diagnose, and reform agribusiness enabling environment constraints that hinder start-up and growth across the agricultural sector.
The information gathered around the country through this project was expected to be discussed at a forum with representatives from participating organisations next Monday at the Gateway Hotel, Port Moresby.
This gathering was expected to make recommendations on how to deal with strengths and weaknesses identified in the agriculture sector, which would help develop the pathway to developing agribusiness opportunities.