EU Initiative Targets Agriculture Development and Women's Economic Empowerment in PNG

By: Roselyn Erehe April 08, 2024

‘Call for Proposals’ Initiative for Agriculture, Rural Development, and Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment.

The European Union has taken a significant step towards fostering sustainable development in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with the launch of the 2024 (Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument) NDICI Civil Society Organizations and NDICI Human Rights program.


This initiative invites both civil society organizations and international entities to participate in a Call for Proposals aimed at addressing crucial areas of concern: Agriculture Rural Development and Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment.

A press release shared on Tuesday 02 April by the European Union stated information on the Call for Proposals including the guidelines and concept note, application form and relevant annexes on accessible websites.

Rural agriculture in PNG forms the backbone of the nation's economy through subsistence and small-scale farming. PNG – Country Strategy Note 2021 (CSN; Asia and the Pacific) reports a large majority of the population (87 percent) are rural and dependent on semi-subsistence agriculture.

Agriculture accounts for a third of GDP and employs 80 per cent of the working population. Smallholder farming systems dominate the sector. However, modernizing this sector faces substantial difficulty, including limited access to technology, essential skills, and knowledge. Additionally, meeting increasingly strict international standards presents a challenge.

Moreover, women, make up a sizable portion of the agricultural workforce, often find themselves marginalized, lacking in leadership and entrepreneurial skills necessary for active participation in economic endeavors.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Gender - Key to Sustainability food and security plan of action 2003, through research, estimations show that women represent a substantial share of the total agriculture workforce, as individual food producers or as agricultural workers, and that around two-thirds of the female labor force in developing economies are engaged in agricultural work.

Recognizing these challenges, the European Union emphasizes the crucial role civil society organizations and international bodies play in tackling these issues and fostering inclusive growth.

The overall objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to an inclusive, participatory, empowered, and independent civil society, creating a conducive democratic space in partner countries.

This Call for Proposals comprises two main lots:

  1. Agriculture Rural Development Programme: Aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the smallholder-dominated agricultural sector to meet international regulatory standards, such as agri-food safety norms and the EU Deforestation Regulation.
  2. Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment: Designed to increase women’s access to skills development, entrepreneurial training, financial services, products, and leadership opportunities.

The total funding available for this initiative amounts to EUR 4.32 million (PGK 17.56 million). The deadline for submitting a Concept Note is Friday, May 24, 2024, at 4:00 pm Central European Time (UTC+01:00). Interested parties can refer to EuropeAid/180704/DD/ACT/PG for further details.

An information session on the Call was set Friday, April 12, 2024, at 10:00 am at the EU Delegation, offering an opportunity for potential applicants to gain insights and clarify any queries they may have regarding the application process and project objectives.

Through collective efforts and strategic investments, the European Union aims to activate positive transformation in PNG's agricultural sector and support women’s economic participation, paving the way for sustainable development and prosperity.

The Guidelines and concept note application form and relevant annexes are accessible in the following websites:  or or

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