PNG treasurer urges people to work their land for livelihood

12:55 pm on 18 December 2019

Papua New Guinea's Treasurer is encouraging citizens to work their land and develop agriculture ventures.

Food production in Papua New Guinea

Food production in Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Ian Ling-Stuckey said significant funding had been allocated to the agriculture sector in the 2020 budget, in particular to assist cocoa, coffee and fresh produce development.

This includes $US57million (200m kina) funding for small to medium enterprises which covers agricultural operations.

The government said it was trying to boost agricultural production and increase incomes of rural families.

It had also set aside funding for downstream processing of coconut products, the livestock industry and to assist oil palm smallholders.

The Treasurer has urged Papua New Guineans "to work their land and not expect the resource sector to raise their living standards".

"We've seen that between 2014 and 2019, real living standards have dropped from 5,380 kina to 4860 kina, a drop of 520 kina per person.

"This fall in living standards was driven by poor government policies and a lack of focus on the agriculture sector," Mr Ling-Stuckey said.

"Growing the agricultural sector is the key to raising living standards and creating better opportunities for the rural majority."