The Farmers and Settlers Association (FSA) has recognized the recent changes in government ministries, specifically those of Commerce and Industry, Coffee, and Agriculture.
FSA President Wilson Thompson expressed his congratulations on behalf of the association’s diverse membership, which includes individual farmers, smallholders, growers, block and plantation owners, as well as processors and manufacturers. He extended these congratulations to the newly appointed Ministers, namely Honourable William Bando, John Boito, and Win Daki, with the expectation that they will lead the charge in achieving economic goals, enhancing business opportunities, and fostering economic growth.
Thompson also noted that the Prime Minister’s decision to split Agriculture and Commerce into six different ministries has raised concerns regarding effectiveness and results. He stressed that there have been more challenges than outcomes from this reorganization, and emphasized the need for performance improvement. This, he believes, can be accelerated with the formation of the National Agriculture and Commerce Council.
The recent appointments of Mr. Bando, Boito, and Daki, with their extensive background experience, are seen as a positive development.
Mr. Thompson expressed a need for a shift in focus, stating, “It’s time to transition from reliance on artificial aids like price supports, grants, and subsidies. Instead, we should rejuvenate our blocks, plantations, and farms. We need to embark on major agricultural initiatives in regions like Markham, Ramu, Arona, Baiyer, and Sepik Plains. Our goal should be to advance in downstream processing, manufacturing, exportation, and activities that substitute imports. This approach is key to fostering small and medium enterprises, boosting employment, and enhancing production, GDP, exports, and foreign exchange reserves.”
The FSA President emphasized the government’s role, noting, “To achieve these objectives, it’s crucial for the government, through its ministers, to take decisive steps. This includes engaging with top industry organizations and participants and selecting new Board members and Agency Heads based on their merit, capabilities, and performance.”