No parallel programs for agriculture: Minister

Agriculture Minister, Benny Allan, says there should not be any parallel programs run alongside those from his Ministry.

This is in response to the announcement by the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Wera Mori, to revive rundown plantations through cooperative societies.

In September, Mori announced plans by his Ministry to spearhead the revival of rundown plantations through the cooperative society scheme, which had died out.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Allan said his Ministry and Department was mandated to oversee the sector.

“We are asking that we don’t run parallel programs. It’s not good for the country. Agriculture department is mandated to run all activities that are agricultural.

“So cooperatives are there, we will use cooperatives to rehabilitate the plantations but not to run the program. They will only assist us or facilitate it,” Minister Allan said.

Asked if he has mentioned this to Minister Mori, he said: “That’s the understanding we have at this point in time. He may have said something earlier, and yes we’ll use the cooperatives but not to run a separate program.”

Minister Mori however, said they are not running a parallel program and will only be responsible for the policy aspect.

He said being the Minister for Commerce and Industry covers a wide spectrum and they are only pushing for the cooperative societies as an alternative business agenda for landowners of Papua New Guinea.

The result of this would be the revival of plantations.

“Being the portfolio minister responsible for policy aspects of Commerce and Industry, we are only trying to manage the industry by trying to show that there is another side to the coin that you can do to get a better result.”

Minister Mori will be one of the key speakers at the Inaugural National Agriculture Summit in Port Moresby next week.

Cedric Patjole