PNG, Taiwan strengthen agriculture collaboration

Business, Normal

The National, Tuesday 14th Febuary 2012

THE Department of Agriculture and Livestock and the Taiwanese agricultural technical mission are working on promoting rice, grain and food crop production.
The Taiwanese team is based in Lae, Morobe province and has been supporting the department with its agricultural programmes through the provision of seedlings, farm machinery and farmer training.
One such collaborative programme was the establishment of a demonstration farm at the agriculture and resource development centre at Erap, in the Markham valley. 
The location makes it ideal for farmers within the province and from the Mamose and Highlands region to seek technical assistance and advice.
John Jave, the department’s northern regional programme caretaker director, said they were happy to work with Taiwanese experts and other stakeholders to promote agriculture development.
Jave said the current collaborative programme with the Taiwanese team aimed to create a system of food production, demonstrating the suitable food crops for planting and securing markets.
This was to allow farmers to consider the options available in either small-scale farming, semi-commercial or commercial operations.
The Taiwanese and officers from the department would conduct field days for the farmers and general public to observe the food production activities and discuss the opportunities available as well as seek technical assistance.
 Corn was one of the food crops being planted besides watermelon and pawpaw.
Jave said the collaborative programme aimed to show the farmers and public that they could set up viable farms as business ventures or money-making opportunities.
Farmers had been encouraged to use their land to grow various types of crops which can be supplied and marketed on a regular basis.
Jave said under the programme, the Taiwanese would assist in supplying seedlings, fertiliser, farm machinery and labour.
The department would conduct supervision, provide labour, harvest and organise markets.
Jave said their officers were happy with the arrangements and were working closely with their Taiwanese counterparts to assist the farmers.
Another collaborative programme was expected to be formalised soon with the Correctional Institutional Service in which low-risk inmates would be trained in basic farming skills. 
The department and the Taiwanese team will offer facilities and expertise to support the CIS in its rehabilitation programme.
The idea was to provide basic farming training to the inmates who can utilise the knowledge and skills to support themselves after completing their jail terms.