Agri industry to be streamlined

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 03rd April 2013


THE agriculture and livestock industry will be rationalised, according to minister Tommy Tomscoll.

He told parliament last week that the industry had in recent times been faced with a lot of issues and the ministry planned to revamp the industry to benefit local farmers.

Tomscoll was responding to North Bougainville MP Lauta Atoi who suggested the restructuring of the agriculture and livestock industry similar to what was done in fisheries.

“The agriculture industry is very important to the development and wellbeing of this country contributing 24%-28 % to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

“It is the backbone of rural people and the heartbeat of the nation because the day the sector stops and there is no food, the heart beat of the nation will also stop,” he said.

“At present, the sector is commodity-based and farmers operate under various boards and there is no communication with the department. 

“However, with the rationalisation programme, all the boards will be removed and all farmers will divert their issues directly to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.”

Tomscoll said many tasks and responsibilities would be delegated to the provincial and district agriculture officers to assist farmers.

He said some of the current boards would be affected, including the palm oil, spice, fresh food produce, cocoa, coffee and copra and the livestock development corporation.

Tomscoll said institutions such as the National Agriculture and Quarantine Authority and National Development Bank would be realigned to better serve country’s farmers.