By Andrea Tagamasau
Places where agricultural activities are dominant show that people’s lifestyles have improved and are better off than places where there is an extractive industry present.
|Agriculture is the major industry in Papua New Guinea|
This was said by veteran agricultural researcher Dr Michael Bourke when presenting his talk on the role of agriculture in a national economy dominated by gas, petroleum and mineral exports.
Dr Bourke said that with the resource boom in the country agriculture activities have decreased thus resulting in it contributing only 18 percent to the country’s economy.
“Agricultural activities are estimated to decrease even further to 5 percent or 4 percent in the next ten to twenty years,” said Dr Burke.
Dr Burke said that from his research he has found out that oil palm is the most valuable exporter in the country with its high buying rates however in the rural areas coffee is the most grown cash crop. He said that with most Papua New Guineans living in rural areas their only source of income comes from agricultural activities.
With the bulk of the population being involved in the agriculture sector it benefits both the formal and informal import sectors.
“Agriculture provides most income for rural people whose typical household income is around K4000 to K5000 which is a lot to them,” said Dr Bourke.
In order to provide a good lifestyle for all Papua New Guineans agriculture is a sector where the bulk of the country’s population is engaged in, however only a few of the rural population who have access to roads and other basic infrastructure benefit from this sector.
He reiterated that income mattered and with the good agricultural income that people had negative factors affecting the country such as high child mortality rates would decrease.
He later concluded that with agriculture, the production of food for sale and the export of cash crops can be associated with the decrease in the rate of child mortality which is solely dependent on one’s income.