Pruaitch Lauds EU Agriculture Grant For Greater Sepik Basin
“The agriculture sector continues to be the back bone of PNG’s developing economy and rural societies, accounting for up to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said this when welcoming the seed capital injection from the European Union (EU) to the tune of K340 million. “Agriculture is still and will continue to be the main source of employment, disposable income and livelihoods for most of our people,” he said.
“Agriculture currently contributes between 30 to 40 per cent of the GDP with export values in 2016 reaching 41 per cent for oil palm, copra at 3 per cent, coffee at 26 per cent, cocoa at 15 per cent, and tea and rubber at 1 per cent.
“Recognition of this agricultural potential is therefore a truly strategic helping hand by the EU. “To the two governors, congratulations for recognizing opportunities presented by such aid programmes and by moving to tap into them to awaken and stimulate the potential of agriculture production and export, in particular in cocoa, coffee, vanilla, copra and other agriculture commodities in the Sepik region.
“To the PM (Marape); thank you for recognising the potential of the greater Sepik basin as a food bowl.” Mr Pruaitch said the vast majority of the rural population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
“They contribute to the economy through SME’s, which currently numbers 49, 500 and contribute to 10 percent of the GDP or as informal micro businesses,” he said.
“It makes good policy sense to invest and grow the agriculture sector through strategic aid programmes such as this.”
European Union Ambassador Ioannis Giokrakis Argyropoulos said the investment by the EU was for the benefit for the people of PNG.
“It is the biggest and largest investment by EU and it will succeed because of the large number of partnerships,” he said.
“We are happy to reach this stage of the long journey, and it will see a wider benefit not only in agriculture but also roads, infrastructures, and electricity.”