There is little doubt that Goilala District has agricultural potential which requires not just planning and funding, but more importantly leadership [Post Courier, 28 Dec 2009]. The recognition of important benefits agriculture for the people, including food security and income generation, is underpinned by at least three fundamental processes: Leadership, support from management and the management of change.

Leadership is essentially about ‘knowing the way forward, showing the way forward and walking the way forward.’ Unfortunately, these aspects of visionary leadership appear to have been missing in the representation of Goilala people, for a larger part of the past thirty four years of Papua New Guinea’s independence. Electing leaders during election is one thing, having leadership for and with the people is another thing and the two – leaders and leadership – are not the same thing. A community many have leaders but is lacking in leadership.

If the value of agriculture is recognized by some of our senior statesmen, as in the recent opening of the Goilala Highway, it must hinge on collaboration between Open electorate MP, the office of the Governor of Central Province, Central Provincial Administration, Goilala District Local Level Government Presidents, Ward Development Committee and on a Give Stage process of management of Agriculture production in terms of identifying problems, developing solutions, and implanting them. The five stage process may involve an initial meeting of key stakeholders, such as the political leaders, and WDC members, to develop a (a) clear and compelling reason(s) on why and how agriculture has the potential to improve the people’s lives and to gauge the degree of commitment that is needed from the leaders, WDC members and ultimately, the people. Among the possible reasons is the people-contentedness or inclusiveness of agriculture.

For the leaders of Goilala, agriculture could be or is seen as an attractive avenue for improving the people’s lives. Developing agriculture would require collaboration between the leaders and the people and utilizing the people’s existing skills and resources, including their land and forests in short, the comparative advantage of the people. The second stage would involve research to collect data on the problems or issues that are inherent in or relate to agriculture in Goilala. The data must be analyzed in order to diagnose the causes of those problems. A required output of stage 2 is for all stakeholders including the people, through their respective wards and WDCs, to agree on a list of key issues to be addressed and the root causes. Among the issues could be the lack of roads to access urban markets or ports or the absence of co-operative societies where people could sell their produce.

Stage 3 would involve the development of arrange of options using the data, through the collaboration and consultation with the people, and selecting the best option(s) to each of the key problems identified in Stage 2. An assessment of the best options, in a collaborative way with the people, maximizes the chances of agricultural activities being implemented successfully and in sustainable ways. Key considerations includes the strengths and weakness of the options, the level of support from all leaders and the people, the negative and positive impacts of the options and the minimizing resistance where and when it arises. For example, does having a Goilala Highway or having co-operative societies have the support of the leaders and the people?
The fourth stage involves implanting the options/solutions. This is where the solutions are transformed from being ideas into reality. Two functions are important in Stage 4: (1) Planning the implantation process and (2) executing and managing the activities entailed by the solutions. For example if coffee was agreed as a solution, then its production would have to be planned and executed according to the processes required for coffee production and sale. The people affected would need to be involved in the implantation as this keeps them informed and supportive.
Executing specific activities such as coffee or betel production would require considerations such as breaking down the works into manageable pieces, for example: pilot, progressive rollout, or a staged process.

The final stage involves a review of the achievements, successes and lesions that can be applied in the future. This is a review from Stage 1 through to Implementation. While the review could take at some stage in the future, it could involve questions invading whether the issue of the Goilala Highway has led to greater sale of garden produce and cash crops in urban markets and whether the more household receives regular income now than in the last thirty four years since independence.

Introducing agricultural activities in Goilala District is not a bad idea at all especially if the people already have the comparative advantage. Any innovations in terms of productions, communication, information, transportation and marketing would hinge on at least three pillars: Leadership, Management, and a five-stage management of the processes, underpinned by the collaboration between the leaders, provincial, district administration, and the people. This is to ensure that agriculture sustains the people’s livelihood, contributes to their income generations and reminds people-centered.

Insight POLICTICS with Dr. Ray ANERE, 20th Dec 2009.


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