NARI launches agricultural programme

National, Normal

Words and picture by GABRIEL LAHOC

A SCIENCE and technology agricultural programme was launched by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Lae to achieve sustainable development and to reduce poverty in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Funded by the European Union (EU), the K11.5 million African-Caribbean-Pacific Science and Technology (ACP-S&T) programme, supports countries to produce and implement policies that strengthen capacity building.
Acting head of EU delegation in PNG Dr Kay Beese officially launched the programme in the Sir Alkan Tololo Research Centre at the NARI headquarters.
The launch was witnessed by local and international stakeholders, including Edward Kingmele from the Solomon Islands ministry of agriculture and livestock, Dr Marie Melteras from Vanuatu agricultural research and technical centre (VARTC) and Dr Raghunath Ghodake, director general of NARI.
Three major capacity building actions were designed for the programme. They are:
* Capacity building in core research-related competencies and networking among staff of agricultural research institutions in the three western Pacific countries;
* Capacity development for research planning, programming and implementation in agricultural research and development institutions; and
* Capacity development in conservation and utilisation of plant genetic resources.
The three action areas will be headed respectively by Dr John Bailey, Dr Kevash Kshirsagar and Dr Rakesh Kapila.
The trio have worked extensively in the agricultural industry and are all from NARI Bubia, Lae.
“The cooperation between research institutions has always been a prerequisite for EU funding of science and research.
“This concerns intra-EU research as well as EU cooperation with Third World countries.
“Sharing of knowledge and joint use of material and human resources improves efficiency,” Dr Beese said.
He said the development was not only a scientific programme, it would also  directly help in the development of rural farmers with the backing of National Governments.
“EU-funded development actions are implemented by the governments of PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
“In the case of PNG, the Department for National Planning and Monitoring is responsible for the programme’s success,” Dr Beese said.