The United Nations rural development arm has unveiled a loan package in Papua New Guinea that it hopes will improve the livelihoods of smallholder producers of coffee and cocoa, the country’s two main cash crops.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a loan agreement yesterday in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, with senior officials from the country’s Government.
The $14 million loan will go to an agricultural project that aims to train farmers to engage in more efficient and sustainable production practices.
The project covers cocoa producers in the coastal areas of East New Britain and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, while the coffee producers being helped are in the Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka and Simbu provinces.
Coffee quality and yields have deteriorated in Papua New Guinea, making it harder for producers to earn a living, IFAD reported. An invasive pest known as the cocoa pod borer also threatens to devastate the crops of many cocoa producers.
The new loan deal means the Rome-based IFAD has provided almost $40 million of financing to various projects in Papua New Guinea.