Kombuk: PNG needs a simple, achievable plan

Farming

DEPARTMENT of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) acting secretary Daniel Kombuk says the country needs an agriculture sector plan that is “inclusive, simple, measureable, achievable and realistic” for sustainable agriculture development.
Kombuk has called for positive input from the stakeholders, including provinces, agricultural industries, farmers, commodity boards and development partners to assist DAL to come up with a sector plan that will transform the agriculture sector.
Kombuk was speaking at the National Agriculture Sector Plan workshop for Southern region held at Dixie’s Bungalows in Central last week.
Kombuk said there was no other sector that could deliver economic development that was inclusive and sustainable as expected by the MTDP 111, but only the agriculture sector. “Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, has a huge potential to be sustainable, and supports over 85 per cent of the country’s population, and only sector to sustain the economy once all the minerals, gas and oil, are gone,” he said.
He reiterated that the objectives set in the MTDP 111 that affected agriculture included increasing internal revenue on a sustainable basis, increase employment opportunities, increase PNG ownership and benefits in the formal sector, and support provinces and districts to generate revenue.
Kombuk said there were many challenges in the agriculture sector, however, the new 10-year NASP will assess the challenges and make appropriate recommendations for addressing them.
“At the same time, there had been agriculture funds parked elsewhere and will continue to be so if we as a sector do not get our sector in order. The NASP is the beginning of getting the sector in order,” he said.
Kombuk said lack of funding may be another challenge, however, the sector must prove to the government that it can achieve and produce the desired results.
“NASP can create the demand for investment financing in the agriculture sector.
“The Minister and I expect a sector plan that creates demand for more financial resources to the agriculture sector that will be used to impact the lives of 6.8 million (85 per cent of population) directly.
“Some of the key development outcomes we expect resulting from the plan relate to increase in production, exports, employment, householder income, food security and private sector investment and growth in the sector.”
Kombuk said NASP is expected to focus on strategic positioning of DAL as a key policy oversight and coordination and whole-of-sector performance accountability agency, appropriate strategies and mechanisms for effective coordination of the sector, priority investment focus areas for specific public investment programmes, performance management framework to manage and coordinate implementation of the plan and account to Government and other financiers on performance.
“Therefore, it is up to us to ensure through this sector plan that agriculture takes its deserved place (that deserved place being the centre) of all development decision-making in the country,” he said.
“The MTDP 111 expects us as a sector to deliver on the targets set and account for performance on an annual basis.
“This plan provides the framework in which we coordinate our individual efforts for a collective outcome and benefits.”

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