January 26, 2019

Agriculture is PNG's star performer: ANZ report


ANZ’s latest Pacific Insight report, released Thursday, has somewhat given praise where it is due as it lauded the sector that is at the heart of all Papua New Guineans, great and small, on its tireless contribution to the economy.

It cited current focus and upheavals surrounding new mining development in the country continue to foreshadow the real contribution agriculture continues to churn out for the local economy.

“Many see mining investment as the best hope of lifting the standard of living of all Papua New Guineans.

“Certainly, mining project announcements dominate the PNG news headlines. Yet, it is the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector that forms the bedrock of the economy.

“Even though the sector’s output can be volatile – knocked about by commodity price movements, weather patterns and exchange rate shifts – the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector has consistently delivered for PNG,” the report stated.

According to the report over the last 10 years, the agricultural sector has contributed, on average, 0.6 percentage points to real GDP growth of 5.4 per cent each year.

“This is 0.4 per cent more than the contribution from the mining and quarrying sector. The oil and gas sector has contributed more, 2 per cent a year, but this average figure is skewed by LNG production from 2014.

“If we exclude the LNG effect (when output lifted by 287.5 per cent and 93.3 per cent in 2014 and 2015 respectively), the oil and gas sector’s positive addition to GDP growth falls to 0.1 per cent.

“Put simply, agriculture has been PNG’s star performer for years, but it does not get the limelight.”

It said as a result of it not getting much prominence, funding support for training, productivity enhancement and infrastructure has suffered.

“We believe this sector should be given the same attention as mining because it provides PNG with the best opportunity for development of small and medium enterprises, which in turn will broaden the base of the economy’s growth drivers,” the report stated.
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