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Partners : Partners: Papua New Guinea
PARTNERS SPRING 2012 13 BY PAUL JONES W omen in colourful dresses crowd around a large bucket of beautiful flowers, splendid in their diversity and range, from pink to bright yellow. These local Lae women have brought a selection of different flowers and plants to show Barbara Toni of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). Endo Gaif's face lights up as she shows off her prized Kaimuki (Macgillivrayi). "One day I would like everybody to see the beautiful flowers and colours of Papua New Guinea," she says. Tapping into this interest in floriculture, or flower farming, has the potential to help Endo and her fellow Lae women, and many others, earn an income. "There is a great enthusiasm for demand and supply of flowers in PNG," Barbara Toni says. "With a little help, floriculture could become one of the leading income earners for women here." In PNG there is very little commercial flower production, despite the market demand, favourable water, soil and Endo Gaif (left) and Barbara Tomi. climate conditions. Culturing flower species has rich potential as it can be done in resource- poor communities, whether situated in remote, rural or peri-urban areas. With ACIAR support a project is underway to evaluate market opportunities to help this new industry blossom and create change amongst the women eager to embrace this industry. Parallel efforts are occurring in Fiji and among Indigenous communities in Australia's Northern Territory. Part of that process involves evaluating the main constraints the PNG women face in developing an industry, particularly pests and diseases, limited skill levels, quality issues, and limited packaging and storage technology. These can then be addressed with the support of appropriate technical staff and training programs. A worthwhile cut- flower industry could be built around a significant expansion of the domestic market, supplemented by niche export of specialty products. The idea is to exploit growth in the world trade of floricultural products---live ornamental plants, as well as cut flowers and foliage---by tapping the rich biodiversity of the Pacific and Australian regions. Realising the market opportunities for floriculture taps into ACIAR's work relating to women in agriculture, creating sustainable enterprises that generate income for Endo Gaif and her colleagues in Lae. n BLOSSOMING MARKETS
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