The National, Tuesday November 5th, 2013
GREATER emphasis should be given to agriculture and farmers in the country, Country Party president Nelson Duwabane says.
“We have the LNG project coming up as well as other mineral resources in the country but these are not renewable resources that will continue to sustain our economy in the long run,” he said.
“Agriculture and rural development initiatives are needed for prosperity. Agriculture and rural sector-based enterprises will improve and sustain people’s livelihood.”
He said the party was a signatory to the Alotau Accord and had two MPs in Parliament.
“Our policies are to provide people with affordable locally-produced food, provide income and employment earning opportunities and mitigate poverty.”
Duwabane urged the Government to support farmers, small businesses, PMV and trade store owners and the manufacturing industries.
“We must see now where we have gone wrong with the National Agriculture Development Plan and place an embargo on imported fresh fruits and vegetables and livestock products.
“We must remove the tariffs on items used in the agriculture sector as well, particularly for small farmers. Our people have been growing sweet potato, tapioca, yam, taro, banana and introduced crops and tree crops like coffee, coconut, cocoa, tea and rubber without tax holidays, freight subsidy, import tax and other tax exemptions.”
Ishmael Kwasam, a farmer from Aluki village in Bukawa, Morobe, said farmers and agriculture must be supported.
“The price of goods and services has increased and the little we get from farming cannot sustain us,” he said.
“We need more backing so we can have a constant income than what we get at present from selling our goods at the markets.”