Markham, Ramu Valley have potential to be agro growth corridor: Study


THE country will benefit from jobs and sustainable economic growth with development of Markham and Ramu valleys as an agricultural growth corridor, according to new research from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
According to the report, as PNG responded to impacts of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), development of this corridor had the potential to boost exports and investment, domestic production and trade and employment in agri-business while enhancing food security.
The economic shock caused by the pandemic has amplified existing challenges in PNG, including the agriculture sector, as well as job creation and barriers to growth in the broader economy.
The study, Markham/Ramu agricultural growth corridor: A possible path of transformational agricultural development, included recommendations for a development plan and investment blueprint to speed up agricultural green growth in PNG through infrastructure development and better market linkages over the next 20 years.
The report highlighted potential for a growth corridor to be a tool for inclusive agricultural development while bring benefits for the private sector and enabling rural farming communities to participate in the potential in the Markham-Ramu economic corridor.
While the suggested agricultural transformation of the valleys is a long-term project dependent on government and private sector support, IFC identified several opportunities which could be realised more quickly, such as animal protein, animal feed, fruit and vegetable production, and cocoa to chocolate production.
“This study highlights the potential investment opportunities in the Markham-Ramu Valley
and how the private sector can be supported to trigger transformational change in the agriculture sector, in line with our objectives under the Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP),” Australian High Commissioner to PNG Jon Philp said.
“Australia is pleased to support PNG in unlocking its agriculture potential through development partners such as the IFC Partnership.”
The Markham and Ramu valleys are located between PNG’s largest seaport in Lae and the populated Highlands region, producing oil-palm, sugar, cocoa, fresh produce, and livestock.
However, at least 85 per cent of arable land in the area remains underutilised.