Roads and airstrips seen as vital for agriculture


ROADS and airstrips are vital for the agricultural sector, according to Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker.
He said these were priorities in the National Transport Plan, however, implementation was difficult with the current cash-flow problem.
“We need to make sure that those rural access roads are functioning, and in some cases, rural airstrips as well,” Barker said.
“There are many people whose whole background was on the back of agriculture crops, because rural roads and airstrips were functioning.
“As we know, a large proportion of the rural airstrips in the county are now closed.
“There are relatively few planes services to those airstrips that are functioning.
“We have a real shortage of money at the moment with revenue being really down. The government really needs to prioritise.”
Barker said political decision-making tended to commit infrastructure to areas that were not of economic priority.
“You have to try and take some of the politics out of decision-making,” he said.
“Instead of having the powerful politicians getting roads through their electorates, you have to think on where the economic priorities are.
“It is expensive to maintain, renovate and build infrastructure.
“Nevertheless, we have to do it, and do it in terms of economic priorities such as agricultural sector.”