New Plan To Foster Cash Crops, Says Allan

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The Ministry and Department of Agriculture and Livestock and agricultural commodity boards and agencies are working to develop, expand, promote and support a wide range of crops and livestock.
These crops include coffee, cocoa, copra, oil palm, rubber, spice crops and fresh produce.
The Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Benny Allan (pictured) said the National Agriculture Sector Plan is aimed at strengthening the current efforts by the lead agency and agricultural sectoral boards and agencies in developing the sector with emphasis on producing quality products, especially in coffee, cocoa and coconuts.
“PNG’s coffee and cocoa are recognised internationally and its top quality must be maintained as well as to promote the products to consumers worldwide,’’ Mr Allan said.
PNG coffee has attracted consumers worldwide whilst cocoa is gaining popularity in the European markets.
“The sector plan should continue to address issues and challenges affecting production especially improvement of quality, and there is need to conduct more awareness and marketing.”
He said the NASP should address one common problem faced by fresh fruit and vegetable farmers in the region which was the transportation of fresh produce, cool room storage facilities, and marketing facilities.
He hoped the department, Fresh Produce Development Agency and private sector can work together to make some improvements in this subsector.
Mr Allan said rice is a staple diet for most people and every effort must be made to promote smallholder and commercial rice production in the rural areas.
“The focus of the plan will be to encourage more local production to reduce rice imports which is about K600 million,’’ he said.
“We have good climate, soil, weather and hard working people, we must grow our own rice to replace imports.”
He said the government is partnering with companies like Trukai Industries Ltd to invest in rice projects in Markham Valley and Baiyer in Western Highlands so more of these arrangements must continue.
Mr Allan said more effort is needed to revive the livestock industry and the plan will address the decline and look at strategies to improve the raising of cattle and grazing systems, poultry, pigs, apiculture, aquaculture, small animals and others.
He said land must be made available to enable smallholder farmers to raise cattle and supply to others to boost cattle breeding and distribution throughout the country.

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