Agriculture and Livestock Minster Benny Allen said this on his official visit to the PNG coffee industry corporation headquarters in Goroka recently.
The Minister was accompanied by the Vice-DAL Minster Henry Ame and DAL Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ill’ava.
An official program in welcoming the Minister on his first visit to the organisation was convened before a meeting with the CIC board and management.
Minister Allen said under the Alotau Accord II, the O’Neill/Abel government is prioritising agriculture as its focus going forward.
He challenged the board, management and staff of CIC to put farmers first in every programs and initiatives that were being undertaken.
“You are not working in this organisation because you want employment but you have a duty to play for the best interest of rural farmers.”
“Programs and projects must produce results. We must step up.”
He reiterated that all should work together so that in the next five years, there should be a story to tell on how all have contributed in changing a farmer’s life.
He said the government was fully aware of the contribution of coffee industry as well as the hardships it faced. He said coffee contributes to the foreign exchange, employment and income, support of gross domestic products, social welfare and stability in communities, and providing food security.
He highlighted that income from coffee feeds into other sectors and acts as a social security net. Our people use this to meet other social and economic obligations.
“Alotau Accord II gives more focus towards increasing revenue base for the country by giving priority to key drivers of key renewable and resource sub sectors.”
CIC Chief Executive Officer Charles Dambui in congratulating the Ministers on their appointment welcomed their support to the coffee industry.
He acknowledged the government for making available K5 million for coffee berry borer. He added that his management was pleased to see that the government has refocused to put money into a sector that will generate revenue for the country’s economy.
Dambui added that coffee over the last five years generated over K3 billion into the economy and it was important to re- strategize so that farmers get more into their pockets.