By James Laraki (November 9, 2012)
SMALL farm sizes, remote and scattered nature of farming communities, lack of infrastructure and other constraints makes it difficult to share information and innovations that are essential to improve farming practices, especially in rural areas.
Various ways and means are being used to ensure vital information and improved technologies are made available for possible adoption by farmers to improve their livelihoods.
One of the means is through public events such as the annual Goroka and Morobe Agricultural Shows. Such events attract people from all walks of life and provide an opportunity for businesses and service providers to come together to showcase their products and services.
Agricultural Shows have played vital roles all over the world by providing an avenue to exchange ideas as well as an opportunity to show case new farming technologies as they become available. We hope this can also be the case in PNG where farmers, agribusinesses, development workers, and service providers can come together to exchange ideas, learn new technologies and information that are useful to innovative agricultural development. Such events are seen as critical points of interaction, especially in our efforts to making available innovations and improved technologies to the farming community.
Such events bring together farmers, researchers, development workers, policy-makers and the general public where they can share information, demonstrate new technologies, and establish partnerships and business links.
NARI is using these events as one of the means to share information, carry out awareness, exchange views and allow people to see for themselves the agricultural technologies and innovations that it has been developed and tested.
NARI has established good working relations and is an important partner to both the Goroka and Morobe Shows. NARI sees such events as an opportunity to reach out to its stakeholders and has participated in both events over the years and will continue to do so.
In 2012, NARI displays and demonstrations at these event were focused on showcasing the most appropriate and innovative agricultural technologies to the farming communities.
Its participation at the Goroka Show was aimed at educating the farming communities, stakeholders and the general public about the impacts of climate change on food and nutrition security. This is part of NARI’s on-going efforts to educate and make aware a range of drought-coping strategies to the general public through provincial shows, NARI field and open days, and other public gatherings to prepare communities to deal with drought and food shortage situations as and when they arise.
NARI used the avenue to make awareness on the problems that would arise as a result of climate change, particularly increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, El Nino induced droughts and excess moisture situations; and the likely impacts that these will have on food and nutrition security and livelihoods of the rural communities.
Displays and demonstrations were aimed at educating the visiting public, policy makers, researchers, development workers, and other stakeholders about appropriate adaptation technologies that should be taken to ensure food and nutrition security in times of El Nino droughts, water shortages and other climate change induced strains on food production.
Such events have created an opportunity for NARI to showcase and promote technologies that are likely to withstand the likely impacts of climate change, placing special emphasis on food and nutrition security.
At the Morobe Show, NARI’’s focus was on galip, an indigenous nut to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. NARI is developing this indigenous nut as it sees it could address food security and generate cash income for rural communities in the lowlands.
NARI believes that its participation at such events around the country will provide an opportunity for farmers and other stakeholders to see for themselves the technologies that are available. It also allows for interactions with technical people involved and share ideas on how best these innovations and information can be sourced and adopted. The institute will continue to use such events to make awareness on available technologies for possible adoption. It is impossible to visit every community scattered all over the country and it believes such events will supplement its efforts to sharing information and innovations to the farming community.
NARI is also using various other ways and means to be effective in its approaches which includes; its own annual agricultural innovations show, community-based resource centres, information centres, regional research and development advisory committees, commodity committees, public and private sector partnerships, piloting and out-scaling and up-scaling models, and innovations systems approach to research and development. It also shares innovations and technologies through the media, various publications, newsletter and website.
All these approaches are being pursued to ensure that innovations and relevant information are made available to the farming communities that could ensure food and nutrition security, and improved livelihood.
NARI anticipates that its relationship with these Shows and other partners will be strengthened in the years ahead so as to serve the farming and the rural communities of Papua New Guinea.
Photo: Michael Dom (right) of NARI introducing the livestock display to acting Prime Minister, Leo Dion and his delegation that visited the NARI stall at the 2012 Morobe Provincial Agriculture Show.