Agriculture sets out market plan
The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) has taken off with the launch of the agriculture-in-aviation feasibility study program in Port Moresby this week.
Acting secretary Daniel Kombuk said the agency was pleased to announce the concept of agriculture–in-aviation as part of the Marape government’s focus on agriculture.
“The department has been challenged by the Prime Minister James Marape, who is also the acting agriculture minister, to find innovative solutions that can help address the plight of the rural people and grow the economy,” Mr Kombuk said.
“The appointment of the three vice ministers to the department signifies the importance of the agriculture sector as the heartbeat of our economy.
“The first-of-its-kind project sees agriculture engage aviation to connect PNG to global markets – and NDAL is collaborating with aviation experts to design an aviation model that provides the platform.
“This is so that the department can understand the business well to determine how the country can position our vast agricultural produce and take advantage of huge export market opportunities without relying on others.
“The purpose of this partnership is to ensure guaranteed markets, with better prices are accessible and connected to our rural farmers on the aviation platform.
“The government recognises the fact that 99 per cent of the land is customarily-owned and 75 per cent of the total population rely on agriculture for their livelihood.
“The department has always been referred to as the backbone of the country, but nothing tangible was done by successive governments.
“NDAL aims at enabling the farmers so that they can take ownership of the government’s vision of “take-back-PNG” and contribute towards building the economy and making PNG the richest black Christian country.
“PNG can be the food basket for countries that are located near us only if we harness the current production capacity by our rural farmers and strategise for increased production.
More emphasis will be on active extension services and building an effective supply-chain mechanism to retain quality and freshness,” said Mr Kambok.
Aviation financial analyst (AFA), Jerry Karl, said the agriculture-in-aviation program will unlock this country’s agricultural potential for economic growth by directly empowering farmers.
“Our fresh organically, grown agricultural produce, mainly horticulture crops have a short shelf-life and therefore must be airlifted to both domestic and international markets at reasonable costs, complimented with appropriate facilities,” Mr Karl said.
“Every citizen is either a farmer or a fisherman and this opportunity must be embraced by all.
“Once the study is completed, the government will announce the milestone datelines that the farmers nationwide can participate,” said Mr Karl.
The former executive marketing manager of the 2015 Pacific Games, Ken Siminji, who is part of the project team, said: “Consultation on this agriculture-in-aviation is paramount and would need NDAL to engage with all stakeholders in agriculture, as well as provincial administrators and churches.”