Forum set to address farmers’ challenges

National, Normal

The National, Thursday February 13th, 2014

 A conference on Papua New Guinea’s fresh produce value chain will be held next month to address issues faced by local farmers.

The Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) will host the event to bring together stakeholders at every level of the value chain in the country.

FPDA special projects programme manager Noel Kuman said the conference was about building relationships and creating an interactive environment and new markets for the farmers.

“Most CEOs of companies the farmers depend on to transport and buy their produce, do not know the hardships that the small farmers face, so we would like to bring them together to share their challenges and issues,” he said.

FPDA will invite key government agencies like National Planning, Transport and the Works Department to develop policies that can assist the industry as well.

The struggle of smallholder farmers in rural PNG has always been common, with the lack of transport and infrastructure.

“We want to look at things like airline subsidies and setting up facilities that will aid farmers in the post-harvest process,” Kuman said.

He said almost 80% of the population depended on fresh produce in the country but the industry had not been given prominence.

“Vegetables are a very profitable industry and I am confident that we will see great potential in it. 

“All we have to do is improve our farmers,” he said.

The two-day conference is set for March 26-27 in Port Moresby.