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Work your land says treasurer

Women are a prominent force in PNG agriculture (Johnny Blades)
Women play a prominent role in PNG agriculture (Johnny Blades)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey, is encouraging citizens to work their land and develop agriculture ventures.

Mr Ling-Stuckey said significant funding had been allocated to the agriculture sector in the 2020 budget, in particular to assist cocoa, coffee and fresh produce development.

This includes K200 million funding for small to medium enterprises which covers agricultural operations.

The government said it was trying to boost agricultural production and increase incomes of rural families.

It had also set aside funding for downstream processing of coconut products, the livestock industry and to assist oil palm smallholders.

Mr Ling-Stuckey urged Papua New Guineans "to work their land and not expect the resource sector to raise their living standards.

"We've seen that between 2014 and 2019, real living standards have dropped from 5,380 kina to 4860 kina, a drop of 520 kina per person.

"This fall in living standards was driven by poor government policies and a lack of focus on the agriculture sector," he said.

"Growing the agricultural sector is the key to raising living standards and creating better opportunities for the rural majority."

Comments

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Lindsay F Bond

Graham is on target, or should we say, rolling out the road restriction and magnifying the monetary imperative. In Oro Province, Goovernor Gary Juffa would be only too aware of roads. After restoration of four vital river crossings (brand new bridges) there remains the greasy inclines at Oivi and Banderi as well as the subsidence adjacent to Sambogo River, all places Graham might know well.

Now about Enga and its roads and exasperations and expectations of future funding (as we begin to list each shortfall across the nation), will this encouraging direct cash to seeds and shovels or to shirts and shorts?

Philip Kai Morre

Agriculture farming is the oldest form of employment and much more effective and sustainable. The Marape government is in the right direction of encouraging subsistence farmers to go into commercial agriculture and livestock business to improve quality of living standard and eradicate poverty level. PNG is sitting on plate of gold and sea of oil but it does not help much because most of the profits have gone to transnational companies to maintain their living standard in their countries and the host country runs dry. Mining is not sustainable and will not last long but agriculture will continue on as long as human race exist.

School curriculum needed to be modified to include agriculture as a means of self employment. Modern agriculture farming techniques and skills and appropriative technology needed to be taught in schools because this is only means of self employment to make money. School leavers and youths needed to be encouraged to go into modern farming techniques to create more commercial business.

It is also imperative that government must ban imports of fruits and vegetable and even livestock that can be produce locally. Constant supply of agriculture produce is workable if government stops imports, where there is a demand, supply will be promoted,

Graham King

Not much point in growing crops if there is no road and no market!

Garry Roche

In Mt Hagen town a billboard with the slogan, "Mani i stap we? Mani i stap long graun" (Where is the money? The money will come from the ground) was clearly visible near the Highlands Highway.

This was Paias Wingti's way of encouraging the people to continue their commitment to work the land. I do not know if that billboard is still there or not.

Hagen, and the Wahgi in general, was blessed with fertile soil and a good climate for growing a great variety of crops. In the same area one could grow cabbage, rhubarb, pineapples, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, maize, (corn) lettuce, coffee, tea, sugar cane, etc. Hagen market used have a great variety of foods on display.

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