The notion of ‘innovative agriculture for development’ stands to inform Papua New Guinea’s policy formulation for intervention with significant impact on the lives of the people, said Chief Secretary to Government, Manasupe Zurenuoc.
When delivering his keynote address at the launch of the National Agriculture Research Systems (NARS) policy forum at the Resort Hotel in Madang yesterday, Mr Zurenuoc said PNG has crafted many policies and strategies, promising different outputs and outcomes but the approaches taken to derive them have somewhat being the same and the cycle has continued for many years without having any impact in the agriculture sector.
The forum aims to establish a podium to aid a platform dialogue for researchers, scientists and other agriculture experts to collectively propose sound analysis and evidence to assess and evaluate implementation of relevant agricultural policies. The Department of Agriculture and Livestock is spearheading the forum in partnership with other stakeholders.
The Chief Secretary, who was the special observer at the forum, said he has been a very strong advocator to empower people using agriculture as the vehicle to drive this agenda and would throw his support behind the concept.
He said after 36 years of independence, it is time for the country to try something truly innovative to shift the people from where they are now so that they can play important roles in the programs adopted in development plans.
“We have to look at ways that can empower and mobilise our people to become productive members of the society so that they become net contributors to our development agenda rather than becoming net consumers of service,” Mr Zurenuoc said.
“I congratulate the NARS for moving away from business as usual and proposing this agenda and further challenge those in other areas of government to do the same.”
He said when he worked for the Morobe Provincial Government, they tried many interventions to get people into agriculture to improve their lives through creating employment opportunities. But he is hopeful the innovative agriculture concept is the way forward.
Mr Zurenuoc said if people want to have positive outcomes in other sectors like education, health, law and order and service delivery, they can be done using the agriculture as a vehicle.
The Chief Secretary commended policy makers in the NARS for their new thinking and assured them that they would be called on to assist the Government in embracing the concept into workable policies for intervention.
He said the proposed alternative model of change based on innovative agriculture for development will facilitate and catalyse transformation for the bulk of the rural population as it is a concept that will have impact on the lives of the people at the rural level.
Those attending the forum include Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Sir Puka Temu, Madang Governor James Gau, donor partners like AusAID and other stakeholders.