By PETER ESILA
SMALLHOLDER farmers and micro, small to medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been urged to increase productivity, to be more resilient and take part in new trends.
United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Dirk Wagener said this during an Agri-MSME challenge fund boot camp in Port Moresby yesterday.
He said many businesses had adjusted to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and changed business models.
UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) country lead in PNG, Jagdeep Dahiya, said the challenge fund had provided mentorship this week to shortlisted applicants for enhancing agriculture enterprise development in the Sepik region.
“The Agri-MSME challenge fund is jointly implemented by UNCDF in partnership with the Bank of PNG SME accelerator programme, Streit (Support to rural entrepreneurship, investment and trade) programme PNG and supported by the European Union (EU),” Dahiya said.
“This programme is designed to revitalise existing economic opportunities in rural populations.
“It will mainly focus and add value to the three value chains of cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries in that region and will improve value chain actors to finance, knowledge, information and markets,” he said.
UNCDF will provide successful applicant/s:
- A PERFORMANCE-BASED grant up to US$90,000 (about K3.15 million); and,
- TECHNICAL assistance and potential opportunities for market collaboration. This fund seeks to support the growth of solutions to alleviate financial and other constraints suffered by agricultural enterprises located in that rural developing region following Covid-19.
Short-listed applicants presented their businesses to the business mentors yesterday.
“The goal of the mentors is to introduce and teach a foundational set of innovation skills and techniques to promote best practices amongst companies and their individual representative,” Dahiya said.
“Lay the foundation for future activities by exposing companies to key concepts and resources around innovation management and digital innovation they need to build, grow and exceed possibilities.”