Port Moresby, June 3, 2016 -  New study on sustainable approaches to commercial agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was presented recently in Port Moresby.

The report comes at a time when PNG is planning to increase production of agricultural commodities like coffee, cacao and palm oil in the coming years. The report commissioned by Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Readiness project with the Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) offers ways to strengthen production of key agricultural commodities while also ensuring preservation of PNG’s valuable forests.

The study ‘Sustainable Agricultural Commodities assessment in Papua New Guinea’, was presented at the consultation workshop to seek input from all relevant stakeholders from the private sector, government agencies, development partners and civil society. Some of the key government partners included the Department of Agriculture and Livestock Conservation Environment Protection Authority, Department of Lands and Physical Planning, PNG Forest Authority.

Discussions highlighted the global trend towards increased demand for agricultural commodities produced in a more environmentally sustainable way. If PNG wants to take advantage of these international market changes it is important that environmental sustainability be included in the country’s future plans to scale up commercial agriculture.

Key recommendations of the report include a need for a national policy for sustainable palm oil to help guide future expansion. Establishing a multi-stakeholder palm oil platform to strengthen coordination in the sector and help to both develop and oversee policy implementation is outlined as area of priority.

Opening remarks were provided by Mr Joe Pokana, Acting Managing Director of the Climate Change Development Authority and Dr Vele Pat Ila’ala, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock. Dr Vele Pat Ila’ala, in his speech underscored the importance of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, coffee and cocoa in socio-economic development of the country and called for a complete ‘paradigm shift’ by integrating innovative and sustainable approaches.

This work forms part of CCDA and PNGFA’s ongoing work to develop a national strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+1) and international climate change mechanism that PNG has been at the forefront of developing. Work will continue on developing the national strategy through out 2016 as part of CCDA’s efforts to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation actions with national development priorities.

1REDD refers to efforts to ‘Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and plus (+) is to foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). REDD+ is an international system to financially reward developing countries for sustainably managing their forests, as part of global efforts to address climate change.