Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New fund for coffee and cocoa growers

Sector to benefit from K67.5m financing from World Bank


SMALLHOLDER coffee and cocoa growers around the country will benefit from a K67.5 million (US$25 million) project funded by the World Bank group (WB), The National reports.

The fund was approved under the WB’s productive partnerships in agriculture project (PPAP) of which it aims to improve the livelihoods of rural PNG communities.

The K67.5 million was part of a US$40 million (K108 million) package signed as a concessional financing agreement yesterday between the WB and Minister for Treasury and Finance Peter O’Neill on behalf of the PNG government.

A total of US$15 million (K40 million) of the K108 million (US$40 million) was approved for rural communications Project.

The WB said the funds were purposely for rural development projects in the agriculture sector, particularly coffee and cocoa production by small holder growers in rural communities.

The WB acknowledged that over 80% of Papua New Guineans lived in rural areas that are largely dependent on agriculture for livelihood and that supporting rural populations was imperative to both social development and economic growth.

The bank said PPAP would assist coffee and cocoa farmers in adopting improved farming practices, facilitate relationships between smallholder farmers and agribusiness and provide critical infrastructure for market access.

The project will focus on areas dependent on coffee and cocoa production such as East New Britain, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, and Chimbu and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

WB country director for PNG, Timor-Leste and Pacific Islands, Ferid Belhaj after the agreement signing stressed that improving the lives of rural households was a priority for both the WB and the government.

“These projects will improve the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers and provide access to communication services for hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.



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