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Partners : Partners September 2012
PARTNERS SPRING 2012 15 BY PAUL JONES "D i d you know these trees produce nuts, timber and traditional medicine?" says Simon Minnah, a field technician at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). As he prunes a row of Canarium nut trees, Simon explains that Canarium indicum, or galip nut tree, is indigenous to the lowland forests of PNG where it has been a culturally important and traditional food for thousands of years. For smallholders indigenous nut species have income-generating potential and can concurrently improve food and nutritional security. Such far-reaching and long-term endeavours, however, first require research to overcome some of the main barriers to increasing commercialisation and smallholder involvement in new and emerging markets. The domestic market for canarium has strong demand, but postharvest handling and processing to separate the nut from the fruit have previously produced poor-quality nuts. Past ACIAR research has identified a range of improvements in the processing of the nuts. A James Maora, Matthew Poienou and Simon Minnah. Galip nut new project, building on domestic demand, is also investigating value-adding and processing opportunities. The work includes examining export potential. In the past few years there has been a number of projects funded by ACIAR and the European Union aimed at the wider commercialisation of the species. NARI researchers James Maora and Matthew Poienou are looking at ways to improve the livelihoods of rural households as they work to advance the domestication and commercialisation process. "Currently the market for canarium nuts is growing and the demand for nuts in the region exceeds supply," Matthew Poieneu says. "While the opportunity exists for commercialisation, we have to keep in mind that the scale of operations and level of technology must be viable at the village level for commercialisation to succeed." The outcomes of past ACIAR research to improve postharvest management and processing have provided a platform to build on. Developing markets and products is the next step to bring the goal of commercialisation a step closer to smallholders. n INDIGENOUS NUTS AND FRUITS
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