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Partners : Partners: Papua New Guinea
Vanimo Wewak Wabag Mendi Mt. Hagen Goroka Minj Lae Madang Kerema Daru Popondetta Alotau Arawa Rabaul Kimbe Kavieng Lorengau Port Moresby Kundiawa West Sepik East Sepik Madang Enga Hela Western Highlands Jiwaka Southern Highlands Western Gulf National Capital Central Northern West New Britain East New Britain Milne Bay SOLOMON ISLANDS AUSTRALIA Bougainville New Ireland Manus Eastern Highlands Morobe Chimbu 4 ouTlook SPRING 2012 PARTNERS My Travels in PaPua new Guinea By PAuL JONes i ’d heard the wild stories, but I had no idea what Papua New Guinea (PNG) was really like. I had read PNG remained relatively untouched, isolated from most of the world, with challenging landscapes. I had also read that the country had an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, volcanic activity and rich soils. Not to mention more than 700 languages and as many unique cultures. Meeting with ACIAR’s PNG country manager, Emily Flowers, in Port Moresby, we headed straight for the airport. So rugged is the terrain, travel between the major centres throughout my visit was almost exclusively by air. On landing at our first destination, the island of New Britain, I thought it was strange to hire a large four-wheel drive. It didn’t take me long to realise that most roads in PNG are poorly maintained and hindered by potholes and landslides. After a two-hour drive we reached our first ACIAR project site. Here we met with the incredibly hard workers of the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute. They proved a dedicated group of professionals keen to promote agriculture development in PNG for the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of its people. After New Britain we flew back to the mainland to visit PNG’s Central Province. This region has great potential to produce a wide range of vegetables—cabbages, broccoli, onions and others—but current production is insufficient to meet increasing demand. ACIAR has a range of projects underway to promote a new approach to helping local farmers make the most of their vegetable cultivation. As we made our way, crisscrossing the country—visiting cocoa farmers, balsawood tree growers, scientists, researchers, palm oil specialists and food crop gardeners—I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of Papua New Guineans. On every occasion, people would welcome us and take the time to explain their involvement in the community’s ACIAR projects. Looking up from Morobe Province to the towering mountain ranges of PNG it wasn’t hard to imagine that early explorers thought they were impenetrable. They appear even more formidable than their reputation. Such meet dedicated individuals but I also had the opportunity to witness and photograph— in some of the most beautiful landscape settings—some truly important ACIAR projects. I think Gorethy Dipsen, a landscape and biodiversity officer working on an ACIAR- funded agroforestry project, summed it all up; “With our ACIAR project here, there is the promise of a brighter future in PNG.” n landscapes highlight ACIAR’s commitment in projects such as small-scale fish farms producing tilapia, carp and trout for home consumption and sale, or tree cultivation incorporated into traditional farming systems, or the development of floriculture enterprises to improve livelihoods for families in these areas. My photographic assignment to PNG was an amazing eye-opener. Not only did I
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