The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) will be revitalized to make it more effective in transforming the agriculture sector.
As the lead agency in the development of the agriculture sector, the department has started reforms aime
d at improving the delivery of services and addressing the needs of the farmers especially the rural population.
DAL Acting Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava said the department’s Corporate Plan was being reviewed and would be finalized and approved soon for implementation. The plan is expected to provide a clear and simple road map for both the department and the agriculture sector in transforming the sector in particular the smallholders to champion business farmers.
Senior officers from the department met recently to discuss the draft document and hope to have the new Corporate Plan launched in early 2013.
The Corporate Plan sets out the way forward for the department to be revitalized and enhance its capacity and capabilities to work closely in partnership with its stakeholders.
The Corporate Plan is in response to Government directives for all departments to align their programs t
o major government strategic plans and the PNG Vision 2050. The plan also addresses seven key priorities for agriculture outlined by the O’Neill/Dion government in the Alotau Accord.
The Corporate Plan will position the DAL as the lead agency in the development of an overarching agricultural policy to modernize agriculture as well as provide strong and effective leadership and coordination in implementing and overseeing policies of government and the corresponding programs in the sector.
It expects to realign DAL’s roles and responsibilities with national government policies, sub-sector statutory a gencies, provinces, district, private sector and development partners.
Dr Ila’ava said that as a key player in the nation’s PNG Vision 2050, the challenge for the department and the agriculture sector was on how best to leverage and manage the huge financial gains from the energy and mining sectors to build a vibrant and sustainable economy for the future. DAL is the key agency in the economic sector and must be transformed to boost agricultural development.
DAL has over the past years, received criticism of its lackluster performance in addressing the needs of the agriculture industry, and especially in providing much needed services to the rural population. There have been numerous complaints about the lack of support in terms of enabling farmers to produce sufficient food for their own sustenance as well as participating in economic activities.
Dr Ila’ava said he had instructed the senior management of DAL to review the department’s role and functions and to take remedial actions in making DAL more competent and effective. These included a review into the operations at headquarters and overall performance of staff.
He also appealed to all DAL staff at headquarters and in the provinces to fully cooperate with the management in the implementation of the current revitalization process and to contribute positively to make the department a better and stronger organization in terms of delivery of agricultural services.