Following a three day brainstorming session of agricultural agencies regarding Papua New Guinea (PNG) E-agriculture Strategy, a wider stakeholder consultation was held yesterday at Government House in Port Moresby to discuss the policy process for developing the strategy, with participation of government agencies from various sectors.
For many decades, agriculture has remained the mainstay of PNG’s rural economy, with over 85 per cent of its 8 million people depending on it for their livelihoods. Yesterday’s event brought a new dawn in PNG’s agriculture sector.
PNG E-agriculture strategy is expected to help guide the agriculture stakeholders through a holistic approach in capturing vast opportunities in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in PNG to promote agriculture and development, especially in rural areas.
Speaking on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Country Representative, Ken Shimizu, said that the agriculture sector has the potential to improve food security, nutrition and income earning opportunities; create employment; reduce poverty; and enhance socio-economic development.
“It is a sector that needs to be targeted with sound policies and strategies and adequate support to improve livelihoods and foster rural developments,” he said.
Shimizu encouraged players in responsible sectors to participate in establishing a conducive environment which can allow agricultural development.
Since 2013, National Information and Communication Technology Authority’s (NICTA) has wanted to see how ICT can improve and enhance systems and processes in the agriculture sector and through its broadband policy NICTA tries to articulate these.
In a presentation, NICTA representative Kila Gulo-Vui highlighted they are able to provide the broadband capacity that is needed to implement the E-agriculture concept.
FAO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have for the first time joined forces to implement this project in PNG, which is facilitated by Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), NICTA and other stakeholders.
FAO and ITU experts Gerard Sylvester and Ashish Narayan from the regional office in Bangkok have also attended the workshop to help the PNG government in building the PNG E-agriculture strategy.