Government more productive in sector support

Farming

Institute of National Affairs Executive Director, Paul Barker says following the National Agricultural Summit and the National Planning Consultative Summit this year, the government is taking more productive
measures in addressing issuesaffecting the sector.
He said the Government was more responsive to addressing the real constraints faced by the agriculture sector, particularly the need for reliable public goods and access likes roads, wharves and air strips to potential markets.
He said agriculture continued to have enormous potential in Papua New Guinea and some of the potential was lost over many years because of a lack of support from the government, who paid lip service to the sector, while undermining the sector institutions with unsuitable and unaccountable appointments.
“Imposing inappropriate policies and providing inadequate sector support were some of the failures of government.
“Even wasting massive amounts on bogus paper farmers, through mechanisms such as the National Agriculture Development Plan.
“Market facilities, law and order, accountable and responsive sector institutions, which are also adequately funded, provide sound governance and farmer support.
“In research, pest and disease control including quarantine and phyto-sanitary, market support, land tenure security, as well as facilitating conditions for competitive provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT ) and power.
“With the Central Bank improving access to needed foreign exchange for some industry players plus supporting agricultural and market skills training and extension, including business training, avoided imposing monopoly conditions for producers or traders for production or trading,” he said.
Barker said the Government and the development partners could also facilitate with financial sector players for improved opportunities to access credit, through prudent risk sharing or possibly partial credit guarantee arrangements, and improved client awareness, based upon business performance, rather than by holding land title.
Barker said the Government could also facilitate the application of the agro-nucleus model, widely applied in oil palm and poultry production, and extended to other crops through the Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project model in cocoa and coffee with lead partners and co-partner producers.
“It is important to be realistic over what can be achieved in what period, and what is required to meet the objectives,” Barker said.

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