The government and its stakeholders are working together to advance the agriculture sector through information and communication technology (ICT).
Today the Department of Agriculture & Livestock (DAL) and its partners met in Port Moresby to consult on the e-agriculture strategy for PNG.
Secretary for the Department of Communication and Information, Paulias Korni, commended DAL for recognising ICT as a tool for improving food security, nutrition and income earning opportunities.
The stakeholder consultative workshop was conducted by the Department of Agriculture & Livestock and the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and other key stakeholders.
DAL Deputy Secretary, Stephen Mesa, said in the past, PNG’s majority agriculture population was visited by extension officers whose job was to educate the farmers. Since the 1980’s the number of extension officers has decreased to 1 officer per 300,000 to 400,000 farmers.
Because of this and the increasing need to bring PNG farmers up to speed with sustainable agriculture, food security and climate change issues, ICT is seen as the way forward.
Secretary for the Department of Communication and Information, Paulias Korni, said the advantage for PNG is that the country can learn from lessons from other countries that use ICT in the sector.
Former extension officer and agriculture expert, Brown Bai, said ICT can be a tool to improve the way farmers go about their daily business.
Secretary Korni also announced that his Department is partnering with PNG DataCo Limited to operate and maintain the Integrated Government Information System for the whole of Government.
The Department of Communication and Information is focused on ensuring relevant policy frameworks are put in place and it is happy to partner with DAL in implementing the e-agriculture strategy.