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Partners : Partners: Papua New Guinea
and the private sector that encompass research, extension, training, environmental accreditation and local socioeconomic development. SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF SOIL AND WATER RESOURCES Sustainable oil palm cultivation is supported by ACIAR through the project Sustainable management of soil and water resources for oil palm production systems in Papua New Guinea (SMCN/2009/013). The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the participation of all PNG oil palm producers to explicitly pursue the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products. The scientific expertise assembled through this project makes it possible to develop practical indicators for environmental sustainability that are also of agricultural and economic value to PNG's palm oil industry, including its smallholders. These efforts contribute to something essential for the industry's long-term viability, given international sustainability concerns over the production of food (PNG's main focus) and biofuels---environmental accreditation. The science that makes this possible revolves around three key areas: 1. The identification of the main risks to sustainability that smallholder oil palm growers face and development of options for managing these risks. 2. The establishment of management practices that ensure sustainable use of soil and water resources. 3. The development of indicators to assess performance and guide management that is complementary to the RSPO. Taking part is agronomist Steve Nake and his team from PNG Oil Palm Research Association (OPRA). When I met him in West New Britain Province, his team was taking soil samples from PARTNERS SPRING 2012 7 At a glance Oil palm is a popular crop as it produces six to 10 times more oil per unit area than other vegetable oils such as soybean or sunflower. Due to its high yield per unit area, oil palm has become a major agricultural crop in many tropical countries where it has helped alleviate rural poverty. In Papua New Guinea, the oil palm industry is small by international standards---in total oil palm is cultivated on 134,000 hectares, which accounts for about 1% of global palm oil production. It is nonetheless the nation's largest agricultural export earner. Oil palm is grown in plantations owned by two companies and on more than 18,000 smallholder blocks. A palm oil mill in Papua New Guinea. A handfull of palm fruits. Roadside collection of fresh fruit bunches.
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