Papua New Guinea: Up to 30,000 farmers to benefit from agriculture project over next six years

April 12, 2011

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GOROKA, April 12, 2011— Up to 30,000 Papua New Guinea farmers are set to benefit from a US$46.3 million project which was launched today in Goroka. Funded by the World Bank, the Government of Papua New Guinea, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and sources within the private sector, the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) aims to improve the livelihoods of rural communities by assisting coffee and cocoa farmers.

Currently over 80 percent of Papua New Guineans live in rural areas and are largely dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.

The PPAP will focus on areas dependent on coffee and cocoa production such as East New Britain Province, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Eastern Highlands Province, Western Highlands Province, Jiwaka Province and Simbu Province, with possible expansion to other areas subject to review.

The project was also launched regionally in Kokopo and Buka where farmers were able to hear firsthand details of the PPAP and were also able to ask questions regarding the project.

Agriculture accounts for approximately a third of gross domestic product in Papua New Guinea. The sector is dominated by smallholder farming systems such as coffee and cocoa, with over thirty percent (coffee) and twenty percent (cocoa) of the total national labor force in the country involved in the production, processing and sale of these crops.

The project aims to undertake a number of measures to support smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers including: strengthening links between smallholder farmers and agricultural businesses; increasing access to farming technologies and services; improving coordination of agricultural institutions; providing critical infrastructure for market access; and enabling the introduction of efficient and sustainable farming techniques which will lead to increased smallholder income.

The six-year project will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock; the Coffee Industry Corporation; and the Cocoa Board.

Total project costs are estimated at US$46.3 million. These costs will be met through the International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$25 million, an IFAD loan of approximately US$14 million, additional financing from the Government of Papua New Guinea (US$1.5 million), and contributions from the private sector (including smallholder farmers) of US$5.8 million.

The project, which was approved by the World Bank’s Board in April, 2010, is a product of extensive consultations with community representatives, local level government, grower associations and cooperatives, youth and women’s groups, extension workers, the private sector, and other key stake-holders.

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