Source: Loop Business
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has echoed Prime Minister James Marape’s call for the nation to embrace the emphasis on agriculture in the 2020 budget.
He said significant funding has been allocated to the agriculture sector, including the K200 million allocation for SMEs, which is expected to also finance agriculture SMEs.
“The government has allocated additional funding for cocoa development, coffee development, and fresh produce development,” he said.
“We’ve also set aside funding for coconut downstream processing, livestock industry development and assisting oil palm smallholders.
He said these initiatives, coupled with the K200 million initial funding for the Connect PNG infrastructure program, are aimed at boosting rural agricultural production and increasing incomes of rural families.
“I want to encourage Papua New Guineans to work their land and not expect the resource sector to raise their living standards,” he said.
“We’ve seen that between 2014 and 2019, real living standards have dropped from K5,380 to K4,860, a drop of K520 per person. This fall in living standards is measured by non-resource GDP after allowing for inflation and population growth.
“The fall in living standards was driven by poor government policies and a lack of focus on the agriculture sector.
“Growing the agricultural sector is key to raising living standards and creating better opportunities for the rural majority.”
The Treasurer is currently visiting Namatanai to witness the first anniversary of the Walter’s Farmers Association buying point wherein he observed negotiations between Innovative Agriculture Industry Ltd, Namatanai District Development Authority and Newcrest Mining Ltd.