The National, Tuesday July 2nd, 2013
By JAMES LARAKI and RAGHUNATH GHODAKE
THE sharing of information, exchanging of views and the mobilising of resources with stakeholders are vital for promoting innovative agricultural development in Papua New Guinea.
One important avenue to create such an environment is the annual Agricultural Innovations Show held last Thursday at the Sir Alkan Tololo Research Centre, Bubia, outside Lae.
In doing so, we created the necessary opportunity for stakeholders and participants from all walks of life, to see, feel and experience these innovations.
We believe we can work together to create awareness and promote innovative agriculture development.
This was the seventh event since its modest beginnings in 2007.
Since then, the show has been getting bigger and better every year with the quality of innovations and richness of participation.
The event, which marked NARI’s 16th anniversary, was a great success with more than 10,000 people turning up.
This year’s theme was “Innovative agriculture for sustainable development in PNG”.
This was to create awareness among stakeholders and influence favourable policy decisions to support investment in innovative agriculture.
The show was organised around this specific theme based on NARI’s assertion that agriculture is the most important sector in the PNG economy.
This is not only because of the dependence of the vast majority of PNG’s population on agriculture but also the sector’s tremendous untapped potential.
This potential can be turned into reality to assure food security, improve cash income and provide comfortable livelihoods.
It can bring total prosperity and sustainable development to PNG.
The chief guest of the event was the Deputy Prime Minister and Inter-Government Relations Minister Leo Dion who delivered the keynote address.
Other guests included Treasurer and Acting Higher Education Research Science and Technology Minister Don Polye, Obura-Wonenara MP Mehrra Kipefa.
The show has become a popular annual event to recognise and value the importance of innovations in agricultural development, and create and promote awareness on the significant role of research, science and technology in innovative agricultural and rural development.
This show is a unique event for our country.
It is the first of its kind to recognise and value the importance of innovative agricultural development.
The show continues to provide opportunities for stakeholders in the agriculture sector and participants to see these innovations, which have the potential to promote and improve agriculture in PNG.
It will continue to allow stakeholders to come together to share information, exchange views and showcase their approaches.
Research and development organisations, extension providers, institutions of higher learning, the private sector, NGOs, women’s groups, businesses, farmers and rural communities took the opportunity to display their inventions or innovations.
More than 50 organisations exhibited their innovative methods and approaches in agriculture and rural sectors.
All NARI research centres exhibited innovations, technologies and information.
Among the exhibits were research activities and outputs on food crops, emerging food and cash crops, smallholder livestock and resource management issues based on NARI’s applied and adaptive researches.
Farmers and the public also had the chance to learn the technical, analytical and diagnostic services and up-to-date information that NARI provides.
Highlights of the event included: the commissioning of the National Biotechnology Laboratory, launching of our Strategy Programme Implementation Plan 2012-20 and the book Capacity Building for Agricultural Research for Development: Lessons from practice in PNG and the official release of improved potato varieties and pyrethrum clones.
We acknowledge the invaluable support received from the Government, AusAID, the European Union, the Australian Centre for International gricultural Research and key collaborators and partners both locally and abroad.
With continued support, we will continue to work on the core functions of knowledge-creation and technology generation and transfer to improve agricultural productivity and production, reduce poverty, create broad-based economic growth and generate improved welfare for all.
NARI believes agricultural research and innovation should be at the heart of agricultural development in PNG.
The annual Agricultural Innovations Show is one such effort that could lead towards agricultural innovations in the country.
Over the years, our regional centres and stations have always been open to stakeholders and farming communities.
Last week’s show was one of the formal occasions where we invite stakeholders to come and exchange knowledge, ideas and information.
The one-day event was a great success as reflected by the richness of participation.
The displays and exhibitions were well-received and attracted many people.
NARI will stage this show every year as a showcase for what it is doing. – NARI