Central Province Creates Pathway for Agricultural Commodity Development

By: PNG Business News September 11, 2023

Workshop participate with Central Governor Rufina Peter (seated middle)

Agriculture plays a vital role in the economy of Papua New Guinea, extending beyond subsistence farming in rural communities, and is an integral part of developing the Central Province through labour force and export revenues.

This was the basis of a weeklong Agriculture Sector Stakeholder Workshop, hosted by the Central Governor’s office and Provincial DAL which began on Monday the 26th of August 2023, and ended on Friday September 01, 2023.

According to participant and Agriculture Project Officer from the Central Governor's office Michael Atuai, industry experts from Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK), National Agriculture Research Institute, Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), Livestock Development Corporation (LDC), Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA), rubber Industry experts, and the provincial lands and agricultural sector gathered together and worked collectively to pave the pathway for development for every agricultural commodity in the Province.

“For a long time, this was done on ad hoc basis without proper coordination with all commodity bodies and the host Provincial Agriculture Sector, now this is the first time a pathway is being created.” Atuai said.

Part of the development pathway agreed upon will see the host province tell sectors what they want, and jointly they will pool resources together and deliver this arrangement through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The resources that will be pooled together include finance, land, transport, irrigation, manpower, improved technologies, improved planting materials, and establishment of a commodity value chain pathway or marketing opportunities.

A special point about marketing of agricultural commodities and establishment of marketing outlet for all commodities will be priority number one, raised as part of the pathway, as "for far too long production has been the focus without considering marketing," Atuai said. 

Central Province's agriculture team will prioritize marketing, he said, as available market access is a motivation for agricultural production and productivity.

Attending the closing of the workshop, Governor for Central Province Rufina Peter was given a rundown on the discussions held during the week and the course of action to be taken in the next meeting. 

Governor Peter in addressing the workshop participants emphasized that in her term of Government Agriculture plays a major role in bringing prosperity throughout the Province.

“If we want to improve the living standards of our people, if we want to improve the social and economic indicators, it is the agricultural sector that forms the foundation, and of course the other enabling sectors that come into play, so it is my honour and privilege to be here."

"The importance of this moved me to give K10,000 to partner with the administration arm and move this workshop forward,” the governor said. 

Governor Peter’s vision is to position Central Province as the leader in nation building, as "everything began in the Central Province and then moved out to Papua New Guinea."

“For me I don’t want it to sound rhetoric anymore and when I say this but when I say I want Central to be the leader in nation building, we need to get back to our position as leader in nation-building. I mean it, and that’s why I say agriculture, and I support when I put in the funds as we go, we have to make it happen, and you are the important guys in this room to make it happen.”

Ms. Peter urged the participants to understand the importance of the national plans, its overarching plans, and ensure they are driving and implementing the plans and pathways at their level.

The Governor also encouraged the industry experts to ensure proper data is collected so work can be done according to the data provided. Workshop participants were also tasked to meet on a quarterly basis going forward.

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