Govt signs K83m loan agreement

A US$25.5 million dollars, or K83 million loan agreement was signed today between the PNG Government and International Fund for Agriculture Development.

The funding is for the Markets for Village Farmers Project, which will support the transition of semi-subsistence agriculture to market-orientated production and farming as a business.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury, Charles Abel, says this continues to signify how important agriculture is to the government.

Since agriculture is the backbone of Papua New Guinea, Abel says the Government continues to create initiatives with its partners to spur on agriculture.

The goal of the project is to improve the livelihoods of small farmers in selected provinces in Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Simbu, Eastern Highlands, Morobe and East New Britain.

“The total funding package is actually US$50.26 million. But the balance of the funding is coming from in-country based stakeholders,” said Abel.

“Of course the Government of Papua New Guinea itself, directly is putting in US$2.9 million. Some of our beneficiaries, in terms of the farmers, are going to contribute US$1.2 million, some of the financial institutions who are engaged – US$4.2 million.”

The DPM said counterpart funding of up to US$30 million, or K98 million, will come from provinces and districts.

Meantime, the representative for International Fund for Agriculture Development, Ron Hartman, said the project will focus on one of the main value chains of fresh produce, which involves around 94 percent of village farmers throughout PNG.

“The Market for Village Farmers Project will be implemented over a 7-year period, in six provinces in PNG,” stated Hartman.

Activities related to the fresh produce value chain will be implemented in Western and Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Simbu and Morobe while galip nut activities will be implemented in ENB.

“Overall, the Market for Village Farmers Project targets around 25,000 farming households,” said Hartman.

“All together about 125,000 village farmers across the country.

“It has great potential to be transformative.”

(Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury, Charles Abel, with the representative for International Fund for Agriculture Development, Ron Hartman)

Carmella Gware