MORE than 1,000 new oil palm growers in Oro and West New Britain provinces will benefit from a K17.8 million loan jointly funded by PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and its subsidiary, PNG Microfinance Ltd
As the organisation’s contribution to the joint-funding, director of PNGSDP Lawrence Acanufa presented a cheque for K8.9 million to PNG Microfinance managing director Paul Thornton in a small ceremony witnessed by more than 40 industry stakeholders last Friday in Kimbe, West New Britain province.
Mr Acanufa said unlike the mining sector, which was not sustainable, the agricultural sector was the backbone of the PNG economy and was the best hope of the nation to raise living standards.
He said the support of PNGSDP to the farming sector would address the critical problem of bad roads facing many oil palm smallholders in the two provinces.
“By working together, we think this project will deliver significantly better road maintenance.
“We must work hard to get as much production as possible from every kilometer of road that we look after and the money given today would be available to finance oil palm plantings in Hoskins, Bialla and Popondetta on existing roads,” Mr Acanufa said.
Mr Thornton, in receiving the cheque from Mr Acanufa said this was the kind of project that would really contribute to sustainable rural development.
The oil palm loan programme is one component of the wider Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP); a joint initiative of PNGSDP, the Oil Palm Industry Corporation, Government and World Bank.