Friday, February 12, 2010

Simbu welcomes agriculture support services project



A project implementation agreement has been signed for an agriculture extension project in the Simbu province.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and the Simbu administration signed the agreement in Port Moresby recently for the Smallholder Support Services Expansion Project, which is to be funded under New Zealand Aid.

 The Department of National Planning and Monitoring is the other signatory to the agreement.

The agreement basically reaffirms that the Simbu administration will utilise the funding made available through grants from NZAid and other sources to promote effective agriculture support services delivery system to smallholder farmers.

The project is aimed at contributing to the overall goal of an improved quality of life for smallholder farmers and their families by increasing their access to agriculture support services. It covers priority areas such as food crop production, livestock, farming systems management, input supplies, marketing, training and awareness, and community development.

The provincial division of agriculture and livestock will take charge in implementing the project and will establish a support services contract facility, management unit and a steering committee. A key component of the project will be capacity building for agricultural staff and support service providers in the province.

At the signing of the agreement at DAL headquarters, witnessed by Chimbu Governor Fr John Garia, all parties pledged to work closely in supporting the project.

DAL Secretary Anton Benjamin said DAL as the executing agency would ensure that funding was made available for the next two years and that the project ran smoothly.

 He said donor agencies were mindful of how their funds were spent and urged the recipients to instill strict accountability in use of funds.

 The project will have an impact in the rural communities especially in extension and agriculture services delivery.

Simbu administrator Joe Kunda Naur said the project was an excellent opportunity to boost agriculture development and urged the provincial government to give its full support.

 He was confident that his administration had the capability to implement the project, which will be launched in two districts.

Fr Garia welcomed the project and assured the administration and DAL that his government would give its support.

He said agriculture was important for the province and such projects must have a positive impact.





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