Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fresh Produce Development Agency commended for its work

Fresh Produce Development Agency

Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) will continue to promote its programmes in the country backed by an excellent corporate governance and best management practices, National Planning Minister Richard Maru said on Tuesday.

National Planning Minister Richard Maru (right) with Fresh Produce Development Agency management including CEO Mark Worinu (third from left).

The minister met with FPDA’s top management to discuss on issues relating to fresh produce development in the country and the way forward.
A presentation made by FPDA chief executive officer Mark Worinu touchedon the successes and prospects for the organisation.
Maru said he was impressed with the work of FPDA so far and assured them that he would ensure funding was secured to carry out to their activities.
Worinu said FPDA had been around for 30 years now and had been working in the back stage promoting and developing food crops for farmers and assisting with the market chain so farmers could get their produce to the markets.
He said some of the major crops that were commercially-viable included bulb onion, sweet potato and English potato, among others which they have been promoting in the country.
FPDA has developed seed-multiplication for distribution and assisted local farmers to grow and supply seedlings where and when required.
Potato and bulb onions are commercially-viable and can be grown in quantity to replace the import market and even export to other countries if emphasis and skills were transferred to local farmers.
Other crops such as citrus and pineapple had the potential to develop into large-scale with the potential for downstream processing only if there was concrete Government intervention with funding and technical support.
Worinu said FPDA was only a regulatory body assisting with skills and knowledge,  but given the need and interest shown by the small farmers, it had gone out of its way to assist with farming skills transfer, supply chain and securing markets.
Maru said while he was impressed with the work of FPDA, he also challenged them to provide their plans and objectives so the government could assist wherever they could.
“I want us to look at the bigger picture and take our food crop production and development to the next level," he said.
"We have to be innovative and learn the new skills and technology in farming.
"We need downstream processing and look at supplying our markets adequately and even exporting our crops to other markets around the world."
Maru is determined to see agriculture,  especially horticulture industry, adequately funded and driven to the next level.
“Our farmers must work in cooperatives and be owners of the market chain," he said.
"They should own the processing plants and continue to work on their farms to supply the market.
"We cannot sit back and allow outsiders to take over our agriculture industry."
Maru also commended FPDA for building a four-storey office complex in Goroka which is scheduled to be opened later this year.
He said with the best corporate governance and sound financing system, his office would not hesitate to assist FPDA with funding in their projects and programmes.
While thanking minister Maru for having confidence in FPDA Worinu said his office would be ever-ready to deliver what was required by the Government to fulfil the  Vision 2050 policy and the medium-term development plans.

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