By JASON GIMA WURI
ACCORDING to a Japanese research team, sago palms has enormous potential to flourish as cash crop in Papua New Guinea, particularly in the Sepik if there is proper infrastructure leading into areas where sago is grown.
A Japanese research team recently went to Kavieng, New Ireland, to carry out a research on sago palms there.
The team consisting of Prof Yukio Toyoda from Rikkyo University, Prof Hitoshi Naito from Kurashiki University of Science and Arts and two other colleagues, who had been doing research on sago palms in East Sepik and West Sepik for several years, recently went to New Ireland to find different types of sago species from the ones in the Sepik provinces.
Toyoda, who is also the team leader, said it was a pity that only few people in PNG study sago although there were so many sago palms in the country.
“In Malaysia, they export sago flour and people consume it as starchy food.
“I am sure the same could be done here in PNG.
“We urge the PNG government with proper agencies to help us promote and preserve sago as it could be a major potential earner for the PNG’s economy.
“But there is no proper infrastructure and logistics to help villagers transport sago after being harvested and taken into towns for economic purposes,” Toyoda said.
“Furthermore, we are trying to find the genetic relations among sago palms in the South Pacific, including PNG, Vanuatu and Fiji where similar researches have taken place.”
The team examined the morphological characters of sago palms and tried to find the possibility of industrialisation of sago in PNG.
Hitoshi added that the results would be ready after several experiments in Japan.
The team returned to Japan last Saturday.