Agriculture in focus

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AGRICULTURE is expected to be allocated a big slice of the 2018 budget to boost economic growth due to low revenue from extractive industries, Institute of National Research Affairs director Paul Barker, pictured, says.
Barker told The National that the Government made commitments under the Alotau Accord Two to give agriculture more attention.
He said agriculture provided the bulk of jobs.
“There have been firm commitments during (last week’s) agriculture summit to assist the agriculture sector but also the recognition that revenue is tight, with little capacity to allocate major new project funding as the budget for 2018 was largely set in stone already by the time the summit occurred.”
Barker said support for coffee and cocoa was likely to be a focus, including supporting access roads, in partnership with the World Bank and other partners.
But much of the support will likely be in the context of providing a better enabling environment for agricultural development, rather than specific project funding, he said.