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New Australian High Commissioner visits NARI

Agricultural research is one of the fundamental areas the Australian government has supported through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), says Bruce Davis, the new Australian High Commissioner to PNG.

Davis said ACIAR has been an instrumental partner in agricultural research in PNG over the years with NARI as the sector is important to the country. He said the collaboration will continue for the benefit of the broader population through improved farming systems and technologies.

“Agriculture is here to stay and it is very important to work closely to see how best the sector can be developed,” Mr Davis said.

Davis made the comments when visiting NARI HQ on January 14 2016 on his first official engagement outside of Port Moresby.

Davis who is not new to the agriculture sector as he has had a long association with ACIAR said he was looking forward to learn more about NARI and the various projects the Australian Government has supported.

NARI staff showcased his delegation some of the recent and current projects supported by the Australia.

NARI Director General Dr Sergie Bang, in a brief presentation, said PNG is very much dependent on agriculture with over 80 percent of its population relying on agriculture, mostly in subsistence or semi-commercial activities in rural areas. Dr Bang reaffirmed that NARI among other agencies strives to see that its goal, purpose and programmes are achieved through improved welfare of rural families and communities who depend wholly or partly on agriculture for their livelihoods.

“NARI has a role on the impact pathway and that is in developing technologies, strategies and policies to piloting of promising research outputs to outscaling and upscaling of such interventions,” Dr Bang said.

And to achieve these, Dr Bang valued the great partnership with ACIAR in the last 20 years through knowledge creation, technology development and capacity building in research skills.

ACIAR and DFAT currently fund 14 NARI projects. ACIAR is a major partner of NARI through projects in market access and value adding of sweet potato, Canarium product development and marketing, sweet potato agriculture enterprise and market diversification, small scale livestock feed milling and the development of vegetable value chain.

Other projects funded through ACIAR are in sweet potato integrated crop management, sweet potato virus and weevil, natural resource management for coffee-based farming system, soil fertility management, gender and women empowerment through women’s business acumen, and horticulture of traditional vegetables.

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