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Lae, Papua New Guinea – Papua New Guinea’s agriculture sector will be transformed to combat land grabbing by major domestic and transnational companies, the Papua New Guinea Women in Agriculture Development Inc says.
President Maria Linibi said the successful launch of the Land Access Guide will alter the landscape more than most people expect.
While impacts have yet to be seen, awareness campaigns and training programs are making its way across farming communities in Papua New Guinea, she said.
PNG Women in Agriculture Development Inc spearheaded discussions in 2019 with Grow PNG and Asia Farmers Association to identify key land issues in the sector.
Maria Linibi says a recurring challenge was revealed in the series of dialogues with major stakeholders.
“Farmers were signing off their land to big companies to develop and they did not realise their potential in doing negotiations for a better value of their potential and their approach in land negotiations, identification and development.”
She told PIFON: “The Land Access Guide Training and Awareness Program is the result of these ongoing discussions, we’ve yet to see the impact because we are just starting.
“These discussions however has helped to change a lot of farmers and traditional land owners way of thinking and give them options to open discussions on their land negotiations with major developers before making decisions and having a fair decision in developing their land.”
She points out companies are acquiring land because they expect world food commodity prices to rise.
It means there is money to be made in agriculture but farmers and traditional landowners currently receive almost none of the benefits mostly swallowed up by major domestic and transnational companies.
“We feel it is a very important lesson for our farmers when it comes to land allocation and development and doing negotiations not just for today but the future and that of their families.”
Maria Linibi said: “In the long term we hope to see better improvements in land negotiations for better farming families as we are seeing a lot of land grabbing by big companies with no proper negotiation skills.”
The activities are co-funded by the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) Programme, a joint partnership between the European Union International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON).