FAO in Papua New Guinea

FAO-led EU-STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea expands the partnership to establish and strengthen 1000 local agri-business groups in the Sepik Region

Dr Xuebing Sun, the EU-STREIT Programme Coordinator and Mr Noel Bafun, the WSEP Centre Executive Officer after signing the LoA.

EU-STREIT PNG joins the hands with local authorities in the Papua New Guinea to further promote agri-entrepreneurship and facilitate transformative changes in agriculture and food systems. 

Wewak, ESP – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) enters into a partnership with the Wewak Small Enterprise Promotion Centre (WSEP Centre) to promote agri-entrepreneurship, provide business trainings and establish business groups in the Sepik Region.

According to a Letter of Agreement signed on 12 August 2021 between FAO and WSEP Centre under the European Union-funded Programme for Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade in Papua New Guinea (EU-STREIT PNG), this partnership, through providing capacity building opportunities, aims to support and facilitate the development of small agri-business enterprises in East Sepik and Sandaun Provinces.

In the framework of this partnership, EU-STREIT PNG supports WSEP Centre to conduct business management and corporate trainings for 1000 executives of agri-rural cooperatives and small business groups in the Sepik Region, and empower them to effectively lead their cooperatives and business groups to increase economic returns.

In this respect, in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperation and with support of EU-STREIT PNG, 25 commerce extension officers and 30 champion local agripreneurs from both provinces will receive trainings on Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) to impart the requisite business knowledge and skills to the target 1000 lead members. WSEP Centre will also assist and train these lead members to formalise and officially establish their business groups.

As part of this LoA, EU-STREIT PNG assists the WSEP Centre in conducting a field assessment of business operations and mentoring entrepreneurs and supporting the Centre to establish a mentorship division.

“I am very happy today that we are signing the LoA with the WSEP Centre to further our collaboration to promoting the development of small enterprises in the Sepiks through capacity building. I hope that the momentum of the signing of LoA will be continued and sustained in future, and I strongly believe that our collaboration will effectively support the realisation of the government commitment in transforming agriculture and food systems and promoting agri-business development for the benefit of the people of Sepiks and the people of PNG,” said Dr Xuebing Sun, the EU-STREIT Programme Coordinator, during the signing ceremony held at the Programme Office, in Wewak, East Sepik Province.

He further underscored that WSEPC Centre “as a government entity and also as a local business arm of the East Sepik Provincial Commerce and Industry Division, has the expertise and experience and a very good track of records in delivering a capacity building initiatives for small enterprises and business groups,” adding that “Partnership is essential for the EU-STREIT Programme, it is a an excellent opportunity to join hands in terms of promoting the real transformative changes and I do believe that WSEP Centre is a right partner for EU-STREIT PNGs.”

“The best way to secure the sustainability of achieved results is to institutionalise the introduced methodology, capacity, technical packages into the local system. That matters to both private systems and government systems,” further highlighted by Dr Sun.

During the signing ceremony, Mr Noel Bafun, the WSEPC Centre Executive Officer, also expressed his appreciation of the approach taken by the Programme in partnering with local institutions. “Thank you for giving trust and confidence to us for partnership with EU-STREIT PNG on business training in East Sepik and Sandaun Provinces. We look forward to working with you to deliver outcomes.”

“EU-STREIT PNG has a very strong focus on the transformation of traditional agriculture and food system not only in the Sepiks but also across the country that is a very big focus because, in addition to direct intervention activities, EU STREIT PNG also include action oriented policy elements, designed as an integral part of  business enabler environment improvement pillar, which has nation-wide implications in terms of contributing to strengthening policy process and institutional capacities for the transformation of food and agriculture systems,” said Dr Sun.

The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. As an evidence-based, country-led and country-owned programme, the EU-STREIT PNG focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development. 

Media Contact: 
Amir Khaleghiyan, 
International Reporting and Communication Specialist, the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme, 
[email protected]