Inaugural summit to focus on private sector

The Inaugural National Agriculture Summit will give prominence to the private sector to inform the Government on what is needed to improve it.

Agriculture Minister, Benny Allan, said this today when confirming the hosting of the three-day Summit next week.

He said the Summit aims to set the foundation for more consultation to improve the agriculture sector.

Minister Allan said for too long the Government has been working without much consultation with the private sector.

“Government cannot do it alone. It is the private sector who will grow the economy so that is why we, from the start, have left our doors open to consult with the private sector,” Minister Allan said.

The private sector has been given two days to present their case while the Government will respond on the last day of the Summit.

Minister Allan said the focus given to the private sector does not mean that rural and small-scale farmers are forgotten.

Department Secretary, Dr. Vele Pat Ila'ava, said the department as well as other relevant state agencies have been rural focused for years.

And the issues faced by farmers also include how the private sector is involved in the agriculture sector through the provision of markets.

“Agriculture plans have been framed in consultation with the small holder farmers. One of the main issues they keep raising is the issue of markets and market access,” stated the secretary.

“It is the private sector who provides the market access. So we want to hear from private sector what issues they have in terms of helping the small farmers sort that market issue out.

“The other one is transport,” he said.

The Summit will be held from November 20 to 22 in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will officially open the event.

Other key speaker include Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru and Trade and Commerce Minister Wera Mori.

Cedric Patjole