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Partners : Partners: Papua New Guinea
16 CAPACITY BUILDING SPRING 2012 PARTNERS PNG's scientific evolution A nation as dependent upon agriculture as Papua New Guinea appreciates the value it gains from developing the scientific expertise of its people. BY PAUL JONES M ore than 85% of Papua New Guinea's 7.3 million people depend directly on farming for a livelihood. Much of this farming is at the subsistence level, despite the richness of the soils and potential for increased production. Meeting the challenge of increasing production depends on helping farmers grow more. That task is difficult, given the remoteness of many villages, the diversity of languages and lack of infrastructure. Building capacity to create a strong domestic agricultural research sector is crucial to long-term sustainability. ACIAR is working to help the evolution of Papua New Guinea (PNG) agricultural capacity and deliver improvements to smallholders. It is an ambition shared by the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). The publicly funded statutory research organisation was established in July 1996 to conduct research on food crops, emerging cash crops, livestock and resource management issues. The institute also provides technical and diagnostic services, along with up-to-date information, to the agriculture sector. Its head office is located in Lae, in Morobe Province. "What's NARI's vision for PNG?" asks NARI's director-general, Raghunath Ghodake. "We would like to see prosperous agricultural communities throughout PNG." To help achieve this overarching vision, NARI's activities tap into a coalition of public, private and civil organisations at regional, national and international levels. These include AusAID, which provides funding, ACIAR project partnerships that engage Australian scientific expertise, the PNG University of Technology, the research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. "In addition to delivering technical and extension projects, each year we continue to develop further the institute and build on relevant capacities to create a congenial environment for agricultural research for development," Raghunath Ghodake says. "This too helps improve service delivery efforts to our primary clients---the smallholder farmers of PNG." With so much riding on agricultural innovation, the breadth of NARI's activities is quite simply extraordinary. This is true of its institutional programs---which encompass Agricultural Systems Improvement, Enabling Environment, Information and Knowledge, and Institutional Management and Development--- and geographical reach, with five regional research centres. Making it all possible is NARI's dedicated and highly motivated staff, among them the following: ACIAR SCHOLARSHIPS AND THE NEXT GENERATION OF PAPUA NEW GUINEAN SCIENTISTS Norah Omot Raghunath Ghodake n NORAH OMOT is director of NARI's Enabling Environments Program. Standing around a whiteboard with four team members, brainstorming ideas on marketing, social economics, impact assessments and work monitoring, she actually identifies something else entirely as her key concern: "The big project we have been working on is climate change and its effects in PNG and Solomon Islands." BY JAPHET NIVI*, ACIAR SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT 2009 10 Upon completion of my undergraduate studies at Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNG Unitech) in 2008, I was awarded an ACIAR scholarship to undertake postgraduate studies at PNG Unitech. In 2009, I started my postgraduate diploma program with a research major in Plant Protection and Ecology. My research was entitled Efficacy of native entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) as potential biological control agent for sweetpotato weevil in lowland humid conditions of PNG, which was the first work on this topic in PNG and also the neighbouring Pacific islands. I completed my postgraduate diploma research in 2009 and won ACIAR's award of excellence for best research presentation for a postgraduate diploma. Because of the pioneering nature of the study in PNG, in 2010 I upgraded to a Master of Philosophy (by research work). I successfully completed the research dissertation the same year and qualified for the masters degree. The awards I have obtained during my studies have also helped me to qualify for employment opportunities. The ACIAR scholarship has contributed a lot in my personal academic development in PNG. Furthermore, it made many positive contributions to the Department of Agriculture with its Staff Training and Development program. Most of all, the scholarship has helped my poor parents in their financial burdens, thus my family are indebted to ACIAR for the job well done in PNG. Without doubt, I believe the ACIAR scholarship is the best and most reliable scholarship scheme and that it can make you someone in the future. I have benefited a great deal from the scholarship during my two years of studies and also in my current work on the research projects in
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