Govt urged to support agriculture, services

The National, Wednesday July 20th, 2016

THE Government is urged to pump more money into agriculture and restore the extension services of primary industry officers.
Jiwaka businessman Robert Mundi, who is helping farmers in the three Highlands provinces – Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Chimbu – in buying their fruits for his wine factory in Banz town, said money put into agriculture meant changes to the living standards of people in rural areas.
Mundi said that the bulk of the people living in the rural areas depended entirely on agricultural produce for their living.
He said that rural farmers did not know much about commercial farming to earn big income.
“I buy whatever little fruits the farmers produce on a smaller scale every week, maybe for own consumption and selling the surplus to me,” Mundi  said.
He said that if they knew how to grow cash crops on a commercial scale, they would get more money.
“In the past, we used to have primary industry officers based in every district visiting farmers and providing them with technical advice but they are not doing it anymore,” he said.
Mundi said that the extension services of primary industry officers should be restored to help in agriculture.
He said the Coffee Industry Cooperation should restore its extension services and help coffee growers.
“How do you expect coffee, copra, cocoa productions to increase when we don’t spend money to make it happen?” Mundi said.