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By Isaac Nicholas in Kokopo

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 26) - The Papua New Guinea Defense Force will come to the rescue of rural farmers whose cash crops have been rotting away because of lack of transport infrastructure.

Cabinet in Kokopo last night approved the use of the PNGDF to move crops from rural areas to the markets, using its air and sea transport equipment.

The PNG military’s civic action branch, meanwhile, will be employed under a related program to spearhead urgent maintenance of all rural roads throughout PNG.

The National Executive Council deliberated on the subject for more than two hours at the Vunapope conference center in East New Britain.

Cabinet approved the "defense green revolution" submission, which was presented by Minister for Petroleum Sir Moi Avei.

But before approving the "defense green revolution," the Cabinet approved the DRIP (District Road Improvement Program) that would see the government placing its priority on the deteriorating road conditions around the country.

Moi said after the NEC meeting that the green revolution was in support of the district road improvement program.

"The roads need intensive care and we are putting it on the drip," Sir Moi said.

He said accessibility was the major problem facing rural areas where the majority of the population lives.

Moi said it was a very significant achievement between the National Planning Department and the PNGDF in the achieving the government’s export driven economic policy.

The drip program would be implemented over the next five years, starting from the remainder of 2004 to 2008.

According to the submission paper, the Works Department would be the lead implementing agency.

August 27, 2004

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