Minister for Agriculture and Livestock John Hickey has commended the commitment by the Fresh Produce Development Agency to bring about tangible development impacts on the lives of 4.2 million people, which represents 85% of
His message was delivered at the launch of the FPDA’s five-year corporate plan (2010-2014) last Thursday by DAL deputy secretary Vele Kagena.
“The industry has progressed from an insignificant status to an important industry that is impacting on the lives and livelihoods of more than 85% of our population,” Mr Hickey said.
“Recent estimates have put the value of the fresh produce industry, particularly the volume of marketed fresh produce, to be K250 to K264 million.
“This is expected to further increase as the economic climate in the country improves with the commissioning of the LNG project.
“The actual value of horticulture and food crops is, however, estimated to be more than this, exceeding billions of kina per annum.
“This, therefore, warrants increased commitments by the government to the fresh produce sub-sector through the research and development institutions, and directly to the industry players who are persevering to provide markets for our farmers.
“In fact, the sub-sector has the potential to bring about broad-based and equitable distribution of wealth for our people.
“By improving the performance of the fresh produce sub-sector, we can address a lot of development issues and significantly improve on our development indicators, which are dismally poor.”
Mr Hickey, however, expressed concern that the plan should not become a “paper document which may be good at decorating shelves”.
“However, I am encouraged to learn that FPDA is already working on the next level of planning – programme planning followed by project planning – which aims to make this document a living document and not a paper document,” he said.
“I believe this is a very good step in the right direction as I am eager to learn about the developments in the industry that will be happening in the next five years as this corporate plan is translated into an action plan through the subsequent programme and project plans.”