Agriculture in PNG

Agriculture and its needs are relatively straight forward and, as Papua New Guineans have been engaged in production for local needs for some 9,000 years, they are highly experienced particularly at the production, if not the marketing, of a wide range of food crops. The sector now needs to face the challenges of producing and distributing to meet increasing local demand from growing rural and urban populations, and for potential export markets. Agriculture’s needs and challenges are more complex than most other industries, which experience the uncertainties of supply and demand and changing technology; agriculture is also influenced more than most by the vagaries of climate and seasonal conditions, plus shorter-term meteorological factors, as well as outbreaks of plant or animal pests and diseases, and the difficulties posed by having small independent producers so widely dispersed and dependent upon adequate basic infrastructure to reach all markets, except for meeting local subsistence needs. The agriculture industry in Papua New Guinea over the decades has never had a
proper avenue to allow the private sector to engage in dialogue between the private and the public sectors. Hence the inaugural summit that was held in Port Moresby last year (2017) to bring together representatives from within the agriculture industry to discuss opportunities and challenges faced within the industry. The summit has now become an annual event following its overwhelming success and interest from the inaugural summit. The summit is an initiative of the O’Neill- Abel Government and the private sector to proactively support Government policies to develop socio-economic projects and enhance the ambitious strategies that will sustain the livelihoods of our communities and bring prosperity to our people. The summit also complements the National Government’s overall strategy and focus of government to diversify PNG’s economic sectors like agriculture to create greater opportunities for PNG in terms of employment and to add significant value to PNG exports. ( Source: Paul Barker of the Institute of National Affairs)

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