The Proposed National Agriculture Administration Act is set to hold officers accountable for lack of performance in the Agriculture sector.
Minister for Agriculture and Member for Middle Ramu, Tommy Tomscoll said for too long, the sector was stagnant because no one was held accountable for the lack of performances. Mr. Tomscoll announced this during the signing of a five year MOA for the Madang and Middle Ramu Districts.
The agriculture sector is considered the backbone of the country. However, for over 30 years, little was done for the sector. It was only recently that the government allocated funding in the 2014 Budget for Agriculture. Under the 2014 Budget, the Cocoa Board received K7 million for cocoa nursery programs in the country.
Agriculture Minister and Member for Middle Ramu, Tommy Tomscoll, says the proposed Agriculture Administration will clearly spell out the responsibility of officers to develop the sector. The Board is now rolling out this program in 7 Cocoa producing Districts. Madang and Middle Ramu are included.
Today, the two Members responsible were present to sign the five year MOA’s 2014 to 2018. They included Madang MP and Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Nixon Duban, and Middle Ramu MP and Agriculture Minister, Tommy Tomscoll.
Cocoa is the main form of employment for the people of Madang, and generates K300 million every year. This supports the economic and social livelihoods of over 2 million people. But the commodity is not immune to challenges. Under the MOA, some challenges that will be addressed include aged crops that result in low production, lack of extension services and advice, and distribution of certified planting materials.
According to the Cocoa Board, the way forward for the cocoa industry is to grow more cocoa trees, produce more cocoa bags, increase export, and increase farmer incomes among others. Apart from this, the Agriculture Sector will also introduce changes that will see certain commodity boards abolished and aligned under one board to monitor performances.
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