Call for departments to go rural

Letters

THERE is an urgent need for the presence of departments of Agriculture and Livestock and Community Development, Youth and Religion in rural areas of Papua New Guinea.
The presence of these departments in the rural communities can positively impact people’s lives.
These departments should concentrate only on urban areas where basic government services are accessible.
They should be out in the rural areas empowering people.
If they can improve their systems and play active roles in rural areas, most of the socio-economic issues in the country can be addressed.
These departments should be more rural sector-oriented than placing emphasis on policy development year after year.
Policies are good to guard, guide and direct changes.
However, policies without serving their intended purposes are of less value.
Many of these policies do not have bearing, if they do, then it is only the urban sectors and few organisations that benefit from them, not rural areas.
These offices were established in all 89 districts of the country by colonial administration and still remain part of the government system.
However, their presence are not felt anymore, maybe because they are either defunct, unfunded or short-staffed.
The only departments in rural areas are education, health, police and justice.
These departments play important roles in the communities since independence and will continue to do so.
If the Departments of Agriculture and Livestock and Community Development, Youth and Religion can maximise their presence in the districts, they can positively impact many communities.
Extension programmes were effectively executed where officers visited communities and up-skilled people on the techniques of farming and better living.
People were preoccupied in cultivating their land.
This contributed to reduction of many social ills in communities.
Rural cash economies were healthy.
People could meet their basic needs as they were engaged in micro-economic activities.
Communities were clean and safe from illicit activities as more awareness and advocacy programmes were constantly carried out.
These strong ethical values were all attributed to active operations of government systems, particularly the significant roles played by the departments of Agriculture and Livestock and Community Development, Youth and Religion in collaboration with other sectors.
Today, these values have sadly declined.
Communities are affected by poverty and many other social ills.
The Government constantly appeals to citizens to engage in agriculture, entrepreneurial activities and avoid law and order issues.
Agriculture is nothing new to Papua New Guineans, it has been with them for hundreds of years.
But these farming methods are all subsistence-based.
People by now should be motivated to transit into contemporary methods of agriculture and way of living because a lot has changed.
Many economies today are bolstered by agriculture.
PNG should learn from them.
When people’s needs are not met, they resort to creating problems.
Many rural PNG communities live in poor living conditions.
That doesn’t mean they are incompetent, they need motivation and support from the Government.
Poverty and law and order issues can be addressed if the departments of Agriculture and Livestock and Community Development, Youth and Religion play their roles rightly.
The Government’s visions can be attained if people are empowered.

Steven Koya
Koalilombo village
Kagua, SHP

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