By SOLDIER BURUKA
The World Bank-funded Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) targeting coffee and cocoa sub-sectors is progressing well.
The agriculture-based development project, aimed at improving performance and sustainability of value chains in coffee and cocoa-producing areas, thereby improving smallholder livelihoods, is a major impact project.
Major components are institutional strengthening and industry coordination, productive partnerships, and market access infrastructure.
The project is for six years.
Bulk of the funding is from the World Bank and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), with support from the Papua New Guinea government.
The project is being introduced into the Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Jiwaka and Western Highlands provinces for coffee, and East New Britain and Autonomous Region of Bougainville for cocoa.
It is being implemented by the Coffee Industry Corporation and the Cocoa Board.
A joint World Bank International Development Association (IDA) and IFAD mission recently carried out the second implementation support mission for PPAP and rated the overall implementation of the project as moderately satisfactory.
The main objectives of the mission were to review the overall implementation progress of the PPAP and reach agreement with the implementing agencies on the 2012 work plan.
The review mission met with relevant government agencies, provincial governments, potential PPAP lead partners, co-partners, cocoa and coffee farmers and visited all six project provinces.
The mission’s draft findings and recommendations were discussed in a wrap-up meeting with officials from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and National Planning and Monitoring last week.
The draft aide-memoire was discussed and agreed upon by all parties.
Mission leader and senior agriculture economist, Mona Sur, said she was happy with the progress made so far and urged the implementing agencies and other stakeholders to continue their positive efforts.
She said farmers throughout the country had high expectations for the project to become successful and to bring benefits to the people.
She also urged the agencies to conduct more awareness to keep the people informed about the importance of the project.
Sur said the project experienced some difficulties and delays in establishing the necessary institutional and management arrangements which impacted on the overall pace of implementation and progress achieved, causing some frustration.
However, she said the core management team was now in place and functioning, and significant efforts had been made to promote awareness of the project and a first call for proposals had been made under component two.
While the mission recognised that there were clear opportunities for improvement and strengthening project implementation, Sur said the mission acknowledged the significant efforts of the project management to gain momentum in facilitating implementation.
She said there was a high demand for the project from the coffee and cocoa industries, and particularly the smallholder target group with high expectations in terms of what the project may deliver.
Sur told government officials that one of the critical issues was the importance of providing counterpart funding.
Inadequate counterpart funding would impact on the overall level of available financing for project activities.
Acting Department of Agriculture and Livestock secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava expressed his appreciation to the implementing agencies and project management for making significant progress and assured the World Bank mission that outstanding issues would be looked into and addressed.