By James Laraki (February 4, 2013)
RESEARCH and development must go hand in hand and we all must work together to ensure this happens, says the member for Obura-Wonenara, Mehrra Kipefa. During a visit to the National Agricultural Research Institute head quarters last week, the first-term was mindful that so many good researches undertaken in the country have not translated to real development on the ground. Kipefa, who was a researcher himself before entering politics, says this is something we all must share the blame for.
He says our research organizations have done and continue to carryout useful researches but have fallen short of linking them to real development. And he says people or organizations that are suppose to provide the vital link between researchers and farmers on the ground are no longer there.
He is also mindful that extension services are no longer there and along many other factors, this link is missing, making it difficult for the outputs of research to trickle down to the farmers’ fields.
“I am focusing on developing agriculture in my electorate but I am also aware that if my people do not have access to technologies and innovations developed through research, it will not work. That is why I am here; at least I want to be the link, for my electorate first”, the MP says.
“We should not be playing the blame card anymore. No need to start pointing figure at each other; do what we can to fix this missing link. People may say this and that, but we must be focus in the long run to do what is required of us. I hope everyone is on the same page so that we can develop agriculture together for the benefit of the majority of the people who depend on it for their livelihood”.
Kipefa is also concerned about need to support research so that it continues to develop the necessary technologies and innovations required, and at the same time ensure to provide the link so that research outputs have impact on the farmers’ fields. This, the MP believes can be achieved by working together; governments at all levels; relevant state agencies, development partners, NGOs and the rural communities. In pledging his commitment work closely with NARI, he says it is about time politicians, extension workers, NGOs and the communities themselves, if they are serious about developing agriculture to come forward seek assistance from institutions like NARI and work alongside them.
The MP is also of the view that whatever we do must be done in a coordinated manner so that at the end sustainable agriculture is achieved. He says we have to start small and do whatever we do effectively so that something tangible is achieved for the benefit of the future generation. He says it difficult to change the mindset of the people, to walk away from the handout culture to doing agriculture, but is hopes do that in his electorate.
Agriculture is they way of live in my electorate, I am will become the link for farmers to source information and knowledge on improved ways of farming from NARI and other sources, says Kipefa.
We totally agree.
We believe no individual or organization will achieve anything on own their own. Working together to improve the livelihood of the majority of our people who depend partly or wholly on agriculture is the way forward.
The National Agricultural Research System in PNG has adapted the agricultural research for development paradigm or AR4D, an emerging global concept of linking research with development for impacts at farmer level. Among others, this concept requires effective partnership between research and those it serves. It also calls for us to develop capacities to generate, share and make use of agricultural knowledge for development change among all actors and effective linkages that embed research in the wider development context and actions that enables development.
NARI and other NARS organizations are much advanced in this process but will continue to increase their capacity to successfully undertake the given task. For this it requires greater investment not to improve capacity in research but also improve the linkage so that research outputs are translated to development. In doing so, we will be able to generate, share and make use of agriculture knowledge that are necessary to innovative agriculture. This we believe is necessary as global paradigm shift of doing agriculture indicates that this transformation is the responsibility of all those who care about the future of agriculture and its role in development.
As the Obura-Wonenara MP says, we all have to be on the same page, work together and do what you can so that at end innovative and sustainable agriculture is done.
Maima Sine (right) of NARI explaining an aquaculture project activities to Obura-Wonenara MP Mehrra Kipefa during his visit to NARI in Lae. Picture: James Laraki.