The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014
By MALUM NALU
COFFEE Industry Corporation acting chief executive officer Anton Benjamin says the future prospect for coffee and agriculture has never been better for the people.
Benjamin, a former Department of Agriculture and Livestock secretary, said that in Goroka when announcing the Government’s contribution of K32.4 million to revive the ailing coffee industry.
It is understood that on top of that, the Government is allocating an additional K50 million to revive the plantation sector.
This is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Goroka on Friday.
Benjamin said the Government was looking at the super-funds to invest money in coffee.
“This is money coming in,” he said.
“We will have plenty of money.
“It comes back to how we manage and how we strategise so that this money is spent on specific areas to bring about change.
“For coffee, we are not looking at planting new areas.
“Our priority now is rehabilitation.
“We’re looking at the Government to put in some money from the LNG (liquefied natural gas) project into agriculture.
“The Government is also asking the super funds to put some of the people’s money back into coffee.
“So there’s money available, not only from the LNG but also from the super funds.
“We want more nationals to be involved in export.
“LNG will come and go, but a proportion of that money should be poured into not only coffee but cocoa and copra, rubber and other agricultural commodities.
“We’ve got huge potential in agriculture but we have not really developed because of the limited funding in our budget.
“We can really transform the country.”
“There are a lot of opportunities with the money coming from the LNG.
“The danger is that it will go, and the way forward is fisheries, agriculture, and forestry.”