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Partners : Partners September 2012
2 SPRING 2012 PARTNERS This issue... BY WARREN PAGE T his edition of Partners features a special report on Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia's nearest neighbour. Many of the stories were photographed and written by Paul Jones, a photojournalist who has worked for leading newspapers in Australia and the UK, and covered major stories such as the election of Nelson Mandela as the first post-apartheid President of South Africa. Paul describes his travels on page 4 of this issue. During his time in PNG he met a range of people involved in ACIAR projects, each passionate about furthering development in the country. PNG faces many challenges, but there is progress and some good news emerging from ACIAR projects. The contrasts within PNG are many. While the country is resource-rich and has positive economic growth, it is also struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Perhaps the most striking example of this is found in the World Bank estimate that there are just 400 doctors in the whole of PNG, despite a population of 7.3 million people. The majority of those 7.3 million people work in and rely on the informal economy, where subsistence farming accounts for the bulk of economic activity. Of PNG's population, about 40% live in poverty. Increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in isolated communities, has the potential to lift many people out of poverty. ACIAR's focus on agriculture draws together a range of thematic research clusters that encompass entire supply chains and are designed to deliver benefits to the rural smallholders who make up the majority of the population. The four clusters---economics and social sciences, crops, natural resources management, and livestock and fisheries--- each contribute to the PNG program operated by ACIAR. This issue reports on some of the main crops, notably research to overcome the challenges facing production of oil palm (see page 6), the emerging opportunities for vegetable production (page 24) and efforts to safeguard the leading export crops from pests and diseases. A feature of agriculture in PNG is the role women play, including in science and research. The efforts of a small number of these women are reported on page 28, with another story, on page 16, focusing on some of the scientists working with ACIAR. ACKNOWLEDGING OUR PARTNERS One of the most difficult issues we face in compiling Partners is how to acknowledge all the individuals involved in, and who contribute to, the success of ACIAR's projects. Just listing each person and the institute or organisation they work in would take up more than two full editions. Inevitably we have to make hard choices, focusing stories around a particular approach or the availability of people for interview, or their presence on the ground. So we cannot include every project person. This does not mean we do not value their contributions, nor that we have ignored those contributions. It is a matter of editorial decisions and our ability to access project personnel. Having said that we do occasionally get it wrong. In the 30th anniversary edition, on page 61 we featured a piece titled 'Happy Seeder', where we said the seeder was "a power tiller implement designed by semi-retired Australian farm manager and agronomist John Blackwell". This should have said the Happy Seeder is "a power seeder implement designed by Australian Professor John Blackwell". This was a mistake by the Executive Editor, and we extend our apologies to John. n Australia's commitment to Papua New Guinea editorial My travels in Papua New Guinea 4 Photojournalist Paul Jones writes of his travels in Papua New Guinea visiting ACIAR's project sites, a trip he considers one of the highlights of his career. The sustainable route to a vibrant palm oil industry 6 Oil palm is an important crop for Papua New Guinea, and ACIAR is helping to safeguard the economic benefits associated with oil palm cultivation through sustainable management of soil and water resources, encouraging private sector investment, and agricultural research. Variety is the spice of productivity 10 Diversification is helping farmers in Papua New Guinea develop beyond subsistence levels. Farming fish for change 11 A novel prisoner rehabilitation project is helping to improve fish production for food and income security as well as delivering positive social impacts. Blossoming markets 13 Flower farming is fast becoming popular with women in Papua New Guinea, and ACIAR is helping to develop this industry. Pyrethrum-based insecticide production 14 Highland farmers adopted white pyrethrum daisies long ago, as the flowers are a source of a fast-acting, low-toxicity insecticide. Indigenous nuts and fruits 15 ACIAR partnerships to domesticate and commercialise indigenous fruit and nut species are in progress throughout the East New Britain Province. Of PNG's population, about 40% live in poverty. Increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in isolated communities, has the potential to lift many people out of poverty. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), aciar.gov.au GPO Box 1571, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia © Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from ACIAR. ISSN 1031-1009 (Print) ISSN 1839-616X (Online)
Partners 30th Anniversary
Partners January 2013