Agriculture zone idea in works
AGRICULTURE and Livestock Minister John Simon says he is working on an agriculture economic zone concept.
“The concept is aimed at transforming the agriculture sector and industry into a vibrant revenue earner by stimulating agriculture-related activities nationwide,” he said.
Speaking to The National after taking over the reins from Benny Allen on Wednesday, Simon said the transformation of his district, Maprik in East Sepik, into the world’s No.2 vanilla producer had significant lessons for Papua New Guinea.
“The rise of Maprik after vanilla prices skyrocketed, rising to as high as K2,000/kg, has been largely due to the efforts of farmers themselves,” he said.
Prime Minister James Marape has tasked Simon to transform PNG’s agriculture sector into a major economic activity and revenue earner, giving him three vice-ministers to achieve that.
“PNG is the second biggest vanilla producer in the world because of Sepik Central,” he said.
“It’s just one of the examples of what hardworking Papua New Guineans can achieve.
“You support and guide them the right way to earn money, they will drive it. The people of Central Sepik – Mapik, Wosera and Dreikikir – realised that there was so much money in vanilla, so they worked on vanilla production.
“You don’t need to teach them, they are hardworking, but you must have good policies and guidelines to help them see the money in agriculture.”
Simon said that was what happened with vanilla in Maprik, Wosera and Dreikikir.