by Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll, said the ministry is redesigning and crafting fundamental legislation to move the sector forward.
The framework comprises two draft legislations – establishing a more functional Department of Agriculture to be known as the Agriculture Administration Adjustment (AAA) Act, and an innovate Agriculture Investment Corporation Act together with Key Performance Indicators for all Commodity Boards and Agencies (CBA).
The Minister said that the agriculture sector must become internationally competitive and prosper and empower our farmers who make up 85% or 6 million of the country’s total population.
The agriculture sector has gone backwards in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from about 40% to 25% in the past decade. The O’Neill-Dion Government, concerned about this, had commissioned the agriculture sector functional expenditure review (FER) to identify the issues and arrest them.
The FER report and recommendations were tabled and endorsed by the National Executive Council (NEC) in NEC decision no. 124/2014 resulting in the two draft legislations.
The draft AAA Act will streamline and clarify the role of Government on how best to manage the sector at national, provincial, district and local level government levels while the draft AIC Act is an investment vehicle for large commercial enterprises and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in agriculture.
He made these statements following a two-day Agricultural Summit for 2015 in Port Moresby this week.