New project to boost fresh produce development

Posted on:Sep 22, 2019News

The Market for Village Farmers Project (MVFP) is an impact project to boost the fresh produce development of Papua New Guinea and must be supported by all stakeholders.

Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), MVFP is a National Government intervention, aimed at revitalizing the horticulture industry.

Department of Agriculture and Livestock Acting Secretary, Daniel Kombuk ,called on all stakeholders, including government agencies, provincial administrations, farmer groups and individual farmers to work together and support this new project to make it an overwhelming success. He urged stakeholders to work in partnership with key government agencies, IFAD, other international agencies and the private sector to drive the initiative.

MVFP, which is funded through a K85.5 million (US$25.5m) loan from IFAD will be introduced to the selected provinces – Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Simbu, Eastern Highlands, Morobe and East New Britain – benefitting around 23,500 householders.

A further 185,600 families are likely to benefit indirectly. The investment in the agriculture sector will lead to reliable food production systems, improved post handling and post-harvest systems as well as well-connected market opportunities and support services to address food and income security for farmers.

Its objectives are to achieve sustainable increased returns to farmers from increased production volumes and quality in target value chains, improving market linkages, and improving value chains and facilitating growth and sustainability in the food chain.

Mr Kombuk said the project which will run for five years is exciting, will have impact in the  horticulture industry, and therefore, it must be supported by the selected provinces, their provincial governments and administration, local farmer organizations and rural communities.

The project provides opportunities in the increase of food production to cater for the growing population and for villagers to participate in marketing of quality fresh produce. It will boost the production of fresh produce and provide consistent supply to the markets.

Mr Kombuk, who made his remarks at the closing of the inaugural project inception workshop in Port Moresby during September 10-11 2019, said land is the strength for PNG and family farming activities are the way forward.

“We can expect and encourage everyone to go into agriculture farming but it is also important that we also create market opportunities so that they can sell their fresh produce. We must give more support to our farmers and get them involved in food production. This country needs consistent supply of quality fresh produce”

Fresh Produce Development Agency, the implementing agency, agreed that strong partnerships was critical at all levels for the success of the project.

General Manager Mark Worinu said all stakeholders must work as a team to support and drive the project which will boost the horticulture industry in PNG. He said the project will not only support production, quality, marketing and other activities, but will also promote family farming through strengthening financial literacy and social livelihood.

Mr Worinu said he was excited to lead the project and described the PNG horticulture industry as moving forward to another level. He assured that during the implementation phase there will be more awareness including provincial and district workshops to enable the agriculture officers and farmers to understand the concept.