Agriculture is an important sector to Papua New Guinea because it accounts for about 28 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supports about 87 per cent of the population in rural areas, who depend on it for food security, income and employment, an official says.
Agriculture and Livestock Vice- Minster Henry Ame said the O’Neill government has put agriculture as one of its top five priorities.
This year the government has allocated funding of about K100 million towards an Agriculture Equity
Investment facility to encourage private sector investment and small to medium enterprises.
He said the government development priorities for the agriculture sector was focused on:
- I nvestment in roads and infrastructure;
- Supply and value chains of agricultural products;
- Domestic and international market access for agricultural products;
- Development of food crops, tree crops and livestock industries;
- Improving extension services;
- Support agricultural research and development;
- Mobilize and improve access to land for agriculture;
- Promote investment in agriculture; and,
- Sustainable and inclusive development of agriculture and management of natural resources.
He said these priorities would contribute to the achievement of sectoral goals like food security and higher development goals aspired in the PNG Vision 50; to make PNG a Healthy, Wealthy, Educated and
Happy population by 2050.
“Food security has become a major global issue and concern for Apec economies as well as due to demand and supply side challenges.
Apec economies has a vital role to play for global food security because they are major producers of food items that is consume globally and traded.
“According to United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation data 2010, Apec economics accounts for more than 50 per cent of global producing of food items like aquaculture and captured fish, eggs, rice, maize and vegetable that plays a major role in global food security and food trade.
“Apec economies must ensure that effective and efficient food value chains are develop to supply sufficient nutritious, safe and affordable food at all times to its consumers.
“By 2050, it is estimated that global population will reach 9.6 billion people and food production has to be increased by 60 per cent to feed this population,” he said.
Ame said increase in food demand would be brought about by increase in population, increase in income levels and urbanisation.
While on the supply side, the declining volume and productivity of population resources such as land, water and seas and climate change are the main threats to food production and food supply chains.
“Apec economies must continue their efforts to address these food security challenges especially the supply side issues focusing on sustainable food production, increase in productivity, and proper management of natural resources and use of climate smart resilience farming technologies.
“I believe that Apec has taken action to tackle food security issues through the development of a food security master plan called Apec
Food Security Road Map 2020.
“This plan is aimed at ensuring that long lasting food security is achieved in Apec economies by 2020 and beyond,” he said.