PAPUA New Guinea has experienced a period of great change within the past decade in particular. Certainly the mining and petroleum sector has been a high profile pioneer in driving this change, both economically and establishing our identity on the world stage.
However, the challenge we still face in this country is being able to channel this wealth to the vast majority of the people who still remain engaged in the primary sector.
In direct contrast,agriculture is our second largest foreign exchange revenue earner, andengages a significant proportion of the people living in the rural communities. This engagement is made possible with key private sector partners who have linked growers to a local market, farming infrastructures and the agricultural export trade.
An exciting new development in the field of agriculture makes its debut on Monday (Nov 20) and ends on Wednesday (Nov 22.) 0The inaugural National Agricultural Summit will be held in Port Moresby and as an industry insider, I am very excited about it.
The program for the summit will include comprehensive updates by stakeholders from respective sectors, and much discussion will revolve around the issues confronting us, but also the opportunities presenting themselves.
This summit will provide an opportunity for the key private sector players to meet with our leaders, in particular the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who will be the guest of honour to deliver the keynote address.
This summit will be pivotal in capturing the national government’s aspirations, what it desires to deliver to its people through agriculture, and how private investments can be utilised to unlocking the true potential of agriculture in PNG.
The Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Benny Allen will deliver the Opening Remarks, laying the platform for what will be an informative and inspiring three days for local agriculture.
Allen announced the summit to the public some weeks back, confirming the theme of ‘unlocking the power of agriculture in PNG.’
Some great minds promise to do just that, as there will be group sessions to encouragean open exchange of ideas to bolster our sector. This cross-pollination of viewpoints should instigate some great initiatives to be later implemented.
Given the overarching goal is to see an enhanced partnership between the government and private sector leaders which develops socio-economic projects that sustain community livelihoods and increase prosperity as a result, these think-tanks are highly anticipated.
The summit is jointly organised by the agriculture ministry and the private sector partners with a key aim being to strengthen the partnership these primary stakeholders have in the sector.
We are hoping that this inaugural summit will align and create the opportunity for the government to frame key policies that can attract investments. Private sector partners will continue to play a leading role in transforming the sector and creating opportunities for greater participation of our farmers, communities and families who live off the land.
- Humphrey Saese is Rice Development Manager for Papua New Guinea’s leading rice supplier, Trukai Industries.