It has been twenty four years since Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia. However, there seems to be very limited progress or achievements for many Papua New Guineans. PNG has been considered and viewed to having serious law and order problems, lack of good governance and environmental degradation by multinational corporations. This does not provide any spectacular development success story similar to that achieved by the South East Asian countries. Yet it is economic development and growth that the PNG Government has always been seeking to achieve through its policy initiatives and promotion of the exploitation of its renewable and non-renewable resources. The agricultural sector has maintained its place as a major leading sector for development from year to year, because of its significance both to the economy as well as the rural sector.
The thesis aims to provide an assessment of Papua New Guinea's
agricultural development with particular consideration of the coconut industry over the past ten years and gives suggestions for future directions of the industry.
PNG's agricultural development strategies and policies have made some positive contribution towards the sustainability of the coconut industry in the country, especially in the rural economy. It is viewed that the tree crop industry or agriculture in general will still be the mainstay of the PNG economy for many more years even beyond the currently mineral and petroleum boom.
The thesis endeavors to evaluate the PNG Government's thinking, vision, aspirations and policies in the development of the agricultural sector, in particular the coconut industry. The period of time considered in this study include, from independence to the present and in the immediate future. In a dynamic and changing socio-economic scenario, policy choice needs the framework of a longer term
perspective. It is in this strongest believe that the agriculture sector still has a role and potential to make a significant contribution to the national economy, and in improving the living standards of the rural people. This would help to bring to realization the national goals and directive principles in development.
The overall thrust is to improve production, productivity and sustainability through research, extension and development of the coconut industry. It is in this area that the thesis would provide some considerations on issues with direct or indirect implications, bearing in mind the policies of the agricultural sector. Particularly external and internal environments, affecting its performance in the past ten years. These environments include macroeconomic policies and development policy issues, paying particular attention on the structures, roles and other relevant aspects of the coconut industry. All these considerations would enhance PNG's
development prospects in the new millennium.