Sago has the potential to be cash crop

National, Normal


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.