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By Timothy Kwara

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 2, 1999 – The National)---PNG's neglected agricultural sector is to be commercialized, as the Government embarks on a nationwide initiative to improve the industry.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ted Diro said yesterday his ministry would strive to take the steps required, in the best interest of the nation.

He told reporters that the country must commercialize agriculture and make use of the many government research efforts, setting up of model farms and experimenting with different crops.

"I am not here to push personal interests," Mr. Diro said, adding that it is time the people are empowered to be actively engaged in agricultural development.

He reiterated that by promoting agriculture the Government was concentrating on improving the quality of life for the people.

After all, agriculture is a more sustainable form of income than minerals, to which previous Governments had given so much priority, he said.

Mr. Diro urged the public to support agriculture projects, as they would bring money to landowners and create employment.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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