Papua New Guinea Horticulture worth K3 billion : Official

 PAPUA New Guinea’s horticulture and fresh produce industry is estimated to be worth more than K3 billion but there is potential for expansion, Fresh Produce Development Agency general manager Mark Worinu says.

“Farming in general has been perceived by society as an activity for villagers and for the elderly, and for people with limited formal education or for the dropouts,” he said.

“This stereotype has disadvantaged the future of farming and agriculture in PNG.”

Worinu said the education system in the country exacerbates that stereotype with the kind of school curriculum it promoted and had produced less skilled dropouts littering the streets in major town and cities.

“A greater awareness must be conducted to encourage citizens that farming requires specialised technical skills and is also for the educated,” he said. “Most farmers/growers in the horticulture industry and agriculture sector today have low literacy levels or none at all. They do not understand the science and economics of farming.

“This often prevents many to make rational and informed evidence-based decisions that could make or break their cropping enterprise. Responsible organisations are doing their best they can but with resource limitations, they cannot fully service the needs of every farmer.”

Worinu said there was also limited support for Micro, Small to Medium enterprises (MSMEs) and SMEs in horticulture.

“The horticulture industry is predominantly a subsistence sector and is transitioning into commercial space,” he said.

“The MSMEs and SMEs of the subsector is not clearly defined in the Government’s SME policy, and that there is no support programme or funding provided.

“This initiative is created as an incubation programme to breed a talented generation of entrepreneurs to lead in the various categories of the horticultural food chain.

“The industry comprises fruits, vegetables, nuts, tuber crops and spices which have huge potentials, and are yet to be fully developed for maximum benefit to our people and the economy.”


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