A World Bank-funded agriculture development project launched this week will be a major boost for smallholder cocoa and coffee farmers.
Acting Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Paru Aihi cuts the ribbon to formally launch the World Bank and PNG Government funded PPAP in Kokopo. Looking on is World Bank sustainable development manager Charles Feinsten.
PPAP, supported by the World Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and PNG Government, will benefit coffee and cocoa institutions, the smallholder producers and the smallholders in market access and is anticipated to improve performance at all value chains and public-private partnerships.
The formal launching of the PPAP took place in Kokopo on Tuesday, April 5, attended by World Bank and government officials, agricultural agencies, farmer organisations and farmers, followed by a similar launching the next day.
The coffee component will be launched in Goroka next week followed by a national launching in Port Moresby.
At the Kokopo launching, Minister for Higher Education and acting Agriculture Minister Paru Aihi told a big gathering at the Gazelle International Hotel that it was not only fitting but also significant that the World Bank and IFAD had chosen the two most-important commodities that directly influenced the economic wellbeing of the rural communities.
He said it was also the Somare-Abal government’s desire to ensure that majority of the rural population that depends on cocoa and coffee must ultimately be the beneficiaries.
“The government has created a conducive political and economic environment which has resulted in the confidence of such highly-esteemed bodies like the World Bank and IFAD to fund this project, “he said.
Aihi said the government recognised that PPAP would contribute to growth of our agricultural export industries, enhancement of smallholder income, and rehabilitation of market access infrastructure, and called on all stakeholders involved in the implementation process to work together.
As far as cocoa is concerned, Aihi said this was a massive investment over 20 years after the smallholder cocoa and coconut rehabilitation program in the 1980s which saw cocoa production averaging 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes.
Through PPAP, he expected increased cocoa production and revitalisation of support services including marketing and transportation.
Aihi expressed his gratitude to the World Bank and IFAD for their assistance and indicated that the government had committed a total of K5 million to support the project over its six-year period.
World Bank representative, Charles Feinsten, said PPAP would improve the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers by: building relationships between farmers and agri-business for better access to markets, technologies, and services; strengthening industry coordination; and providing access roads and wharves to ensure coffee and cocoa producers could readily get to markets.
The project will directly help local farmers, offering training and support, assisting them to adopt better farming practices.
Community consultations will continue to take place throughout the duration of the project in order to build true partnerships and ensure sustainability.
The project will initially take place in areas where rural household dependency on coffee and cocoa income is high, especially East New Britain Province, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Eastern Highlands Province, Western Highlands Province, Jiwaka Province and Simbu province.
The possibility of expanding into other provinces will be reviewed during the second year of the project, and again during the fourth.