The National, Tuesday 28th August, 2012
By ALPHONSE BARIASI
THE Maprik campus of the University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE) was declared open by East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare last Friday.
The campus is the third such extension of the UNRE. Its other campuses are the Popondetta Agricultural College and the National Fisheries College in Kavieng.The Maprik campus at Bainyik was formerly the Sepik Agricultural College operated by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.When Asian Development Bank funding for the college stopped, the staff were transferred to Vudal (now UNRE) in East New Britain and Popondetta in Northern.
The buildings were left unattended for 22 years and were destroyed.
The opening of the main administration block was a significant event for the people of Maprik and East Sepik, Sir Michael said.“East Sepik is an agriculture province and it makes sense for the UNRE to have a presence here,” Sir Michael told the large crowd of local communities, school children, university council members and staff.”
He called on the people of Maprik and all Sepiks to embrace university Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Siaguru and his team who will be passing on much needed skills to our community while based at Maprik.
Sir Michael also acknowledged the contributions of the two former MPs Gabriel Kapris and Tony Aimo, who were instrumental in bringing higher learning opportunities closer to their people of Maprik and Ambunti-Dreikikir respectively.Kapris was instrumental in negotiations for the eventual opening of the Maprik campus of UNRE and University of PNG’s distance learning at Brugam Secondary School.
Siaguru said that the university believed in empowering the community and sustaining food security.
“We want to ensure the vision to raise community income from K1,300 to K13,000 per annum per person is achieved. “To achieve this, (university) council plans to make Maprik campus concentrate on training
in commercial agriculture.”He said Papua New Guineans must begin to think of agriculture business and commerce.
Once the skills have been taught to grow and secure a crop, entities must be formed to create a supply chain which will take the product from the grower to the consumer to create trade.