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Partners : Partners: Papua New Guinea
n SIM SAR is NARI's director for Agriculture Systems Improvement Program. He looks after a wide range of research from crops through to livestock. Gains to productivity are his main focus. Sim Sar has worked extensively throughout PNG. "Research is a not a short-term but a long-term fix for PNG," he says. n In NARI's Aquaculture section DENSLEY TA PAT keeps and breeds carp and tilapia, which are then distributed and sold to farmers around the country. He also conducts research into producing sustainable fish feed. "In here we have fingerlings and it is great to know that these fish will go all over the country to small aqua farms," he says, on a tour of the facilities. PARTNERS SPRING 2012 17 PRIZING EDUCATION Three PNG high school students were awarded prizes for their winning entries in the Australia Week 2012 Essay Competition. The event was sponsored by ACIAR and the Australian High Commission and asked students for their thoughts on two socially important issues: how can PNG overcome the ethnic divisions that often lead to conflict and how can a sense of national identity be built? The first prize, a laptop, was won by Cyprioni Puli, a grade 12 student at St Joseph's International Catholic College. Second and third prize winners were Lyean Nants and Metasha Sode respectively. The award ceremony was attended by ACIAR country manager Emily Flowers and the wife of the Australian High Commissioner, Roxanne Martens, who had judged the submitted essays. Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles MP, and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, presented the awards. Japhet Nivi Sim Sar (right) training scientists. Peter Gendua and Julie Sip. (From left) Emily Flowers, Metasha Sode (third prize winner), Cyprioni Puli (first prize), Lyean Nants (second prize) and Roxanne Martens. n PETER GENDUA is NARI's Rice and Grain project manager. His main focus is rice genetics and biodiversity, as rice cultivation is relatively new for farmers in PNG. "People in PNG like eating rice; the problem is suitability for the highlands and lowlands and the cultivation technology is new for the farmers of PNG, it's not part of their culture," he says while visiting a field trial site at Bubia with technical assistant JULIE SIP. n MATTHEW POIENOU, an agronomist at NARI, has been working on drought-resistant crop varieties. PNG faces a 'mega drought' in the future, according to NARI scientists. It is believed that the 2012 El Niño-induced drought will be severe and pose a huge threat to human lives as well as threaten food security for more than two million Papua New Guineans, especially in rural areas. "We have been working on a source of drought-resistant yams, a specific crop the trials identified as suitable," he says. n PNG with Pacific Adventist University and ACIAR collaborative research with the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research on varietal trials and plant protection aspects of vegetable value chain research. Finally, I am grateful to ACIAR and the team for selecting me to be part of this capacity-building program, which is very useful for the unfortunate ones in rural areas of PNG where the scholarship cannot reach them. I look forward to collaborating closely with ACIAR in PNG if possible in the future. * Japhet Nivi works as a researcher and lecturer at the Pacific Adventist University. He serves as principal researcher for an ACIAR project in which vegetable cultivars are evaluated, particularly in agronomic and plant protection trials. The project is bringing vegetables with improved nutritional value from the Central Province to the Port Moresby market. A taped interview with Japhet Nivi discussing his current research activities can be viewed at the ACIAR website (www.aciar.gov.au). Matthew Poienou Densley Tapat
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