Farmers learn soil sampling skills

National, Normal

The National, Friday March 7th, 2014


RICE farmers in East Sepik were taken through a three-day comprehensive soil sampling and analysis training last week by an expert from Tohoku Agricultural Research Centre in Japan.

The training, sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, was conducted in Wewak by senior researcher Dr Nishida Mizuhiko, included theory and practical lessons at the rice demonstration plots at Yawasoro.

Smallholder rice production chief adviser Masakazu Kanamoto, provincial coordinator Pius Numbotai and Miriam John, from Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) rice extension unit, assisted in training the 13 smallholder farmers.

Numbotai said training was vital because it helped the farmers to understand the soil better in order to increase their yields.

East Sepik Deputy Governor Ian Samuel thanked Mizuhiko for imparting the skills and knowledge to the farmers.

“I am happy that the farmers can now do soil test and identify which areas are ideal for certain crops,” Samuel said. 

“In the absence of DAL officers, these farmers will teach other local farmers.

“In Maprik district where I come from, rice has been with us for years. It has become a staple food just like sago and yam.”

Samuel, who is the provincial agriculture chairman, said he had talked to the Governor, Sir Michael Somare, about rice farming in East Sepik and he had made a commitment to provide assistance.

Wewak Island LLG president Pius Bugatar urged the national government to integrate the free education policy by putting money as an incentive for farmers.

“The government must subsidise fees for farmers’ children and not for lazy people. If they do not want to work, the government must not pay for their children’s education.”