Thursday, October 27, 2011

Roads to drive agriculture

Source: The National, 26th October 2011

NO roads, no agriculture – were the words Agriculture and Livestock Minister Sir Puka Temu said before the signing of a grant agreement
of US$1.7 million (K3.7 million) between the World Bank and the government.
It would be used to improve the resilience of PNG to the impact of natural disasters and climate change on the most vulnerable sectors of the economy, in this case the agriculture and transport sector.
Yesterday was the signing of the grant for the agriculture sector with the transport sector next month.
It will be implemented by the Office of Climate Change in association with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL).
The DAL would be looking at three of the four components of the agreement which are:
l    Analysis of climate vulnerability and disaster risks in the agriculture sector including commodity specific studies;
l    Performance of a feasibility study of agriculture risk insurance for smallholder farmers; and
l    Provision of small grants for pilot initiatives.
Sir Puka said the project would bring hope to the many subsistence farmers who are faced with these problems every day.
“Nobody can predict when there would be bad weather that can destroy gardens. Climate change is real and poses real risks and PNG is very exposed to natural disasters.
“This will give the little people a lot of hope and any investments in agriculture must be long-term.
“I know this will end in 2015, but I want to request that this project never ends. It must continue till it becomes embedded into our own national programmes,” he said.
Sir Puka said agriculture would not be able to work alone as it needed a good road network, electricity, water and communications to thrive.
World Bank country manager Laura Bailey said because 36% of the economy came from agriculture, the focus now was on the ability of the country to respond to the challenge of addressing risks posed by the weather.

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