THERE are over 40 indigenous plant species with an edible kernel in Papua New Guinea, with about 10 of these being important in village agriculture.
Some of these are seen as having potential for commercial development. Canarium nut (galip nut as commonly known) is one of them. Many studies indicated that Canarium nut have the potential for commercial development as it could be easily accepted and liked by people from outside the area where it is traditionally grown. Canarium nut is native to the humid lowlands of eastern Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and PNG.
Canarium nut has been cultivated in Melanesia for thousands of years and is extremely important tree in traditional, customary life. The nut has some cultural significant in many areas such as Madang, Bougainville and New Britains where it is mostly grown. It is also a favoured food source.
NARI started work on this important nut in 2007 through the ‘Galip Domestication and Commercialization Project’ supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). This was undertaken as earlier work indicated that research and development on this indigenous nut could address food security and generate cash income for rural communities in the lowlands where it is grown.
NARI has been conducting studies in Canarium nut as the nut is of high quality with a unique taste and has the potential to become a world commodity. It is a tasty, highly nutritious nut, containing proteins, vitamins, healthy oils, and anti-oxidants. The nut is popular among outsiders, including expatriates, and the prospects for its commercial development are considered to be excellent.
NARI is now planning to expand its work on this nut through an expansion of the Canarium project to fully develop the Canarium nut industry in PNG. The project “Domestication, commercialization, and development of Canarium Nut Industry in PNG” is one of the three projects that NARI agreed to deliver under the performance agreement signed with the national government early this year.
The project to be implemented from 2013 – 2016 will aim to ensure galip nut production, processing, marketing and trading are developed through establishment of appropriate technologies, practices, partnerships, arrangements, strategies and policies.
The expected outcome from this project when fully implemented is to have a vibrant and sustainable galip nut industry in PNG trading in domestic and export market. The project hopes to achieve this by ensuring the following outputs are accomplished:
During 2011 – 2012, the Canarium project has distributed over 26,000 superior galip seedlings and developed improved propagation methods. Studies were also conducted to see whether the galip tree could be used as shade tree for cocoa. The galip nut in pulp and nut in shell (NIS) grading systems and steps to dry NIS were also developed.
In 2013, the galip nut project will aim to distribute 40,000 superior seedlings. It will also verify and confirm ways to dry galip nut. It is also expected that appropriate ways to store galip NIS will be developed, verified and confirmed. For us to develop the galip nut industry and to achieve the expected outcomes, it is essential for adopt and grow the superior galip varieties distributed. Efforts also being made to increase capacity to mass produce planting materials. It is also necessary that stakeholders are well informed of the galip industry developments and ensure they fully participate throughout the process.
While the project looks promising, any useful output, we assume can be delivered from collaborative effort of all partners. To stimulate development of the galip industry, appropriate policies need to be formulated and implemented by the government and stakeholders. We also hope that sustained funding is made available to support galip research and development efforts. Effective stakeholder participation is also essential. We need to establish effective partnership and collaboration with all key players including international agencies.
Growers must understand consumer demand for Galip and its nut byproducts and participate and take ownership in growing Galip nut. All stakeholders and industry partners should also appreciate the need for their involvement and participation. It important for the government to appreciate such developments and should support mechanisms of implementation through formulating appropriate policies and protocols. We hope that stakeholders take ownership and actively participate in the project to develop the Canarium nut industry in PNG.
Photo: A potted galip nut clone bearing nuts