Enhancing the Labour Absorption Capacity of Pacific Agriculture
|Collections||Pacific Economic Bulletin (1991-2010)|
|Title:||Enhancing the Labour Absorption Capacity of Pacific Agriculture|
|Publisher:||Asia Pacific Press|
In this policy note I wish to make four points. First, for most of the Pacific island countries (including Papua New Guinea), but particularly for the larger land-rich Melanesian countries, the present focus for employment for the bulk of the population and for economic growth should be on promoting productivity growth in agriculture. Second, while having some benefits for Pacific countries, the movement of unskilled Pacific labour to Australia and New Zealand can make little contribution to overcoming unemployment and underemployment in the larger Pacific island countries. Third, the small Pacific island countries cannot compete on the global stage in the production and export of large-volume, standard quality, agricultural commodities and should focus on differentiated products that command a premium price that covers the high costs of participating in international trade. Fourth, a wide range of research is needed to support the growth of agricultural productivity in the Pacific island countries and the regional universities, in particular the University of the South Pacific, have an important role to play in the various research areas, in collaboration with regional and other research institutions.
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