By SENIORL ANZU of NARI
RESEARCH has identified high-yielding peanut varieties for Papua New Guinea farmers.
These include nine short-duration and six medium-duration varieties for the lowlands and five short-duration and four medium-duration varieties for the Highlands.
The short-duration varieties require about 90-120 days to fully mature whilst medium-duration varieties need 130-160 days under the Markham valley conditions.
These improved peanut varieties have been recommended and released to the PNG farming community.
The recommendation was based on field research by the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Trukai Agri-Business, Ramu Agri-Industries (PNG) and Queensland Department of Primary Industries (Australia) with Support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Peanuts are a most-nutritious and easily-grown food crop.
They can complement the cereal and tuber food staples as root and tuber crops lack the essential proteins necessary for a balanced diet.
Peanuts also improve soil fertility for other crops and can be a major source of cash income, particularly for women.
However, current peanut production levels in PNG are generally low with pod yields of 0.5-1 tonnes per ha when the crop’s potential stands at 3.4 tonne per ha with appropriate improved production technologies.
With a domestic market valued at K29 million and serious engagement of farmers in peanut production, it is imperative that PNG farmers should have access to appropriate improved production technology for enhanced yields and economic gains.
Peanuts are one of the most-profitable crops in PNG, producing around 30,000 tonnes each year and providing a major portion of family income in the PNG Highlands.
Interested farmers can enquire with the local partners.
Meanwhile, a new peanut production manual is also available for peanut producers, processors and educators to further enhance the crop as a leading industry in PNG.
The new booklet, titled ‘Growing Peanuts in Papua New Guinea – A Best Management Practice Manual’, was launched in Lae by Queensland’s Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin in October 2008.
The 77-page document provides scientific information about crop agronomy, as well as being a practical, field reference tool for smallholders, peri-urban gardeners, researchers, students and remote villagers who grow peanuts.