We are approaching another Festive Season and 2016 will pass by in the next few days. On this occasion, I wish to extend our very best wishes and appreciation to all staff of NARI - DG's Office, Senior Management, Staff at HQ and Regional Centres including DDG, PDs; RDCs, CMs, PLs, scientists and ancillary staff. My sincere appreciation is extended also to our partners and stakeholders, including the many farmers we have worked with during the course of this year.
Year 2016 has had its own challenges. However, we managed through and achieved most of our planned activities. Such achievements wouldn’t be possible without everyone’s undivided efforts and teamwork towards the common goal of improving the lives of our people. I am proud that NARI continues to make very good progress in accomplishing its strategic objective with positive impacts.
There has been considerable progress this year at project level. These include the implementation of the EU RED 2 project in the Highlands following the official launch at the Ialibu Resource Centre in February. The launch was graced with the attendance of project partners and key stakeholders. The Institute also went into full swing with three TADEP ACIAR projects - Galip Nut Commercialisation, Sweet Potato Commercialisation and Training on Improving Women Farmer Entrepreneurship.
ACIAR's extended support saw five staff undertaking Mobile App training, since November, to adopt the mobile acquired data technology (CommCare). The initiative stands to improve efficiency in research and information sharing through the development and use of appropriate mobile apps, a transition from paper-based to app-based R&D process.
I am also proud to mention that NARI's milestones in institutional planning were achieved with the development of a number of key Institute plans during the year. We now have medium term plans for the next 4 to 5 years; these are the Medium Term Implementation Plan (MTIP) 2017-2020, Revenue Generation Plan (RGP) 2017 - 2021, Revised PDR process and Training Plan 2017 - 2020. We have continued to maintain clean financial records, with the latest being the 2015 Unqualified Audit Report as certified by the Auditor General's office.
Our team has developed two new Mega Projects which have now reached advanced stages and we look forward to have them coming into stream in the first quarter of 2017. They are the EU Climate Change Resilience Project and the Solar Driven Rice Mills from the PNG Incentive Fund. We also look forward to an improved ICT system institute-wide with the migration of our internet service provider to Telikom PNG. Infrastructure developments have already commenced since October and the new service will come on board soon for your use and benefit.
However, the 23rd of May was a very sad day for NARI staff and stakeholders. We lost the second NARI Chairman, the late Prof Kohn Kola, who had served NARI Council for 13 years. NARI attended funeral services in Port Moresby and Goroka to farewell our inspirational leader and guardian. We showed our Appreciation for his services to the Institute by contributing to the funeral costs. My heart-felt thanks goes to all those who contributed and participated in one way or another.
Throughout this year, the Senior Management has taken a firm reign to weather the financial challenges we faced. Funding from the PNG Government has reduced by 15% in the last 5 years. This has called for the Institute to mobilize additional funds through internal revenue and project-based donor funding to supplement Govt funding. To better enable this into the future, the Institute has developed the RGP 2017 – 2021 and MTIP 2017 – 2020. Prudent Management is required not only for Revenue Generation and Income Sourcing but also Cost Savings at every opportunity.
Our challenges in the medium term are to mobilize generation of internal revenue and attract external donor funds to sustain the Institute better and enhance scientific research, publication and technology development.
We have continued to create our enabling environment and strengthen our human resource base in strategic areas. Our focus is to continue to develop strategies and fill the missing links where appropriate in order to effectively deliver on the vision and objectives of the Institute.
These achievements could not have been possible without the support and commitment of the Government of PNG, AUSAID/DFAT (ACIAR) and the EU, stakeholders, donors and staff from all programmes and at all levels. We highly appreciate and treasure your commitments and contributions.
We look forward to another good year in 2017 with your continued support and pro-active contributions.
On behalf of the Institute Council and Executive Management, I convey my season’s greetings and best wishes to all staff, partners, readers, their families, and friends, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017.
I also convey the Council Chairman Prof Chalapan Kaluwin's Season Greetings to you all.