by Stanley Ove Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
Last month, Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Tommy Tomscoll, announced the agriculture sector of the country had seen a gradual drop in income generated from different crop sectors in the last 10 years.
Following this, the opposition challenged the Government to revive the agriculture sector.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Sam Basil, in Wewak, recently said the agriculture sector used to contribute over 70% of the country’s economy since independence. However, that has dropped below 30% today and is declining.
Cash crops like cocoa, oil palm and coffee were pumping millions into the economy but recent major oil and gas projects like the LNG over shadow the agriculture sector.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, in responding to the opposition’s call, said access to capital was the main factor affecting the agriculture sector.
Mr O’Neill said the National Government will transform the agriculture sector particularly its access to finance, where small to large scale farmers and businesses can seek credit to develop their agriculture projects.