EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme in PNG steps up its converging support to rural communities in Papua New Guinea with setting the foundation for an overall integrated Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) strategy for Sandaun Province to strengthen enabling environment for the adoption of digital solutions for improved service provision in rural areas.
In this regard, the EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme in PNG in close collaboration with provincial partners, including provincial divisions of Agriculture and Livestock; ICT; West Sepik Investment Limited; Commerce; Cocoa Board; Fisheries Authority; and Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority, developed and validated a tailor-made E-Agriculture Strategy and Action Plan for Sandaun Province.
Led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the development of the E-Agriculture Strategy and Action Plan helps the country and the province, at the institutional level, to enhance communication and coordination between stakeholders, institutions, and individuals in using ICTs across different sectors impacting agriculture, leveraging a whole-of-government approach.
At the infrastructural level, rolling out of this E-Agriculture Strategy and Action Plan provides a vision and plan to address existing challenges in the access to information resources, networks, digital services and platforms that are critical to support policy decisions and innovative services. In addition, it improves the quality and timeliness of data and information availability (in particular for Cocoa, Vanilla and Fisheries) for better decision making, improving the livelihoods of rural farmers.
Improving market access, financial services, risk mitigation, disaster management, logistics, and thereby enhancing income generation and improving profitability, are among other major benefits of the adoption of this E-Agriculture Strategy.
As part of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme’s mandate to support capacity development, the E-Agriculture Strategy and Action Plan provide a roadmap to strengthen the capacity at all levels for the use of relevant ICT tools and applications for better access to agriculture information and support services, including financial products and services and strengthen the state of consumer protection, privacy and empowerment through clear policies and guidelines.
The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region.
The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.