Sunday, April 03, 2011

Agriculture plans a ‘joke’

The PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute has rubbished projections for cocoa and coconut as contained in the national development strategic plan 2030 (DSP2030) and realigned national agriculture development plan (NADP).
PNGCCI chief executve officer, Dr Eric Omuru described the projections – 554% for cocoa and 400% for copra – as a “joke”.
He made the harsh criticism of the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM) and Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) at a workshop last Friday focusing on the liquefied natural gas project and its affect on the agriculture sector.
“The projections for various agricultural commodities as contained in DSP 2030 by the DNPM have been adopted as key results areas for the realigned NADP,” Dr Omuru said.
“When I first saw these projections, I thought they were a joke!
“For the cocoa and coconut industries , which I represent in my current job, increase in cocoa production by 554% from the current average of 50,000mt to 310,00mt and for copra, an increase of 400% from the current average of 100,000mt to 440,000mt by 2030 are hard imagine.
“Without consultation with the two industries to project these targets it’s hard to imagine where the DNPM got the background intelligence to set these targets.
“Models that are used to provide projects are only as good as the information or data that it is fed with.
“The allocation of public resources or funds to the two industries is limited as is the case for most of the PNG National Agriculture Research System (NARS) organisations.
“Agencies of government that are vested with powers to allocate resources to agriculture sector agencies or industries must do justice to allocate resources to facilitate the necessary activities that are needed to generate incremental changes over time to meet the targets.
“Sadly this is not the case or reflected in the 2011 development budget appropriations.”
Dr Omuru said against a backdrop of an NADP that attracted negative connotations of the “old” NADP, the DAL must move on the lower level planning process of the realignment with a sense of urgency to convince relevant government agencies that the sector was ready deliver results.
“Reorganising to deliver results is a challenge as we have found in the PNG NARS organisations,” he said.
“Without this critical restructuring or reorganising process and resourcing, it would be counterproductive to talk of delivering results.
“The NARS have their plans and are now implementing them.
“Having commodity plans as noted by Dr Chris Dekuku (of DAL) are good but if they are not resourced, they are just that – ‘plans’.”

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