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NARI celebrates 20th Anniversary

May 5th 2017 marked NARI's 20th year of existence and service to the PNG agriculture sector. During its 20 years, NARI has been recognized nationally and internationally as a lead research organization of high development relevance to PNG and the Pacific region. Below is an abstract of the NARI Council Statement delivered during the 20th Anniversary celebrations.

  1. Acknowledgement.

The Government of PNG must be commended, in the onset, for its wisdom in setting up NARI back in 1996. NARI was established as a statutory organization by an Act of Parliament in 1996 and  commenced its operations on May 5th 1997.

NARI's research programs and projects are based on agriculture constraints and opportunities identified through stakeholder (farmers) consultations across the country.

Since its establishment, NARI has developed 28 agricultural technologies which have been disseminated to farming communities in PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and other Pacific Island countries.

 

  1. Achievements

Below are NARI's major achievements during its 20 years, and what it needs to plan for the next 10 years.

  1. First 10 YEARS:  (1997 – 2007)

The Research Focus in the first 10 years was 'Innovative Agricultural Research and Development'. During this term, AusAID through ACNARS (2002 – 2007) provided the much needed support in Capacity Building and Infrastructure Development. The European Union funded the construction and development of the NARI HQ (Kana Aburu Haus) at Bubia near Lae.

In the first 10 years, the excellent leaderships of the first Director General, Valentine Kambori, and second Director General, Dr Raghunath Ghodake, are acknowledged. Dr Ghodake was instrumental in leading the Research Planning and Research Buildings and Facilities established up to 2013. Exceptional stewardship at the NARI Council level by the Late Sir Alkan Tololo and Late Prof John Kola are also acknowledged. With their vision, strong leadership and drive; the Institute made much progress in a short span of 20 years.

The Key Achievements included;

  1. Establishment of NARI Strategic Plan – ‘Towards Innovative Agriculture Development in PNG’
  2. Recruitment of Principal Scientists
  3. Development of Housing in SATRC Bubia
  4. Development of NARI HQ Kana Aburu Haus
  5. Development and Implementation of Key Mega Research for Development Projects
    1. Research on Galip Nut Commercialization
    2. Research on On-Farm Copping Strategies under Climate Change
    3. Research on Livestock Feeding Systems 
    4. Marketing Research
    5. Crop Protection Research
    6. Soils and Crop Nutrition Research

 

  1. Second 10 years:  (2007 – 2017)

In the second 10 years, the Research Focus was Agricultural Research for Development. The main funders of NARI remained the GovPNG and key donors namely AusAID through the Agricultural Research and Development Support Facility (ARDSF), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the European Union. The Key Achievements by NARI during this term include:

  1. Two major NARI Planning documents released; which have guided the Institute: 1) The NARI Strategy & Results Framework 2011 – 2020 and 2) NARI Strategic Implementation Plan 2012-2020, 
  2. NARI developed over 28 New and Improved Agricultural Technologies which have been distributed, accepted and adapted widely by farming communities across PNG and the Pacific Region,
  3. NARI’s Impeccable Financial Accounts Record since its establishment in 1997 (Annual Unqualified Audit Reports),
  4. Key Research Infrastructure were developed for the Institute including;
    1. Momase Regional Centre & SATRC Bubia - the Alan Quartermain Hall, Dr Ghodake Biotechnology Centre and the Western Pacific Guest house,
    2. New Guinea Islands Regional Centre - the David Lowe Kerevat Office Complex,
    3. High Altitude Highlands Centre – the Tambul Office Complex,
    4. Refurbishment of the KilaKila Chemistry Laboratory and the National Agricultural Insect Collection (NAIC).

Challenges:

Below are four (4) Key Challenges that NARI has been  dealing with;

  1. Low Priority for Agriculture - The low priority for agricultural development by the Government and Donors is a serious concern. Emphasis and funding have been on Health, Education, Infrastructure and Law and Order. Yet, more than 80% of Papua New Guineans live entirely on Agriculture for their livelihoods, mostly the smallholders. To improve agricultural productivity and market efficiency for these rural smallholder producers, effective Research, Development and Innovation is needed.
  1. Declining Gov't Funding - As recurrent and development funds from the Gov't declined up to 30% in 2016, NARI needs to seek new opportunities for its funding by linking up with Active Donors and moving towards Internal Revenue Generation Activities.
  1. The Institute needs to Mobilize Resources for sustainable Institutional development in terms of human resources, funding research and infrastructure. Maintaining the current research establishments and facilities is critical.
  1. Alternative Cash Crops - Alternative Cash Crops for the Highlands is necessary due to the arrival of the Coffee Berry Borer this year. Apart from Bio-Fuel Research on our natural tree oils (i.e. Copaiba & Tigasso), other possibilities include Arthemeter research for production of anti-malarial drugs etc.

i. We need to be innovative in developing new commodities and commercializing existing commodities. Such options should have unique and comparative advantages to our environment.

  1. Research Needed on Climate Change- NARI must continue to generate and provide new information, strategies and technologies through research to enable stakeholders in agriculture to be resilient to global challenges such as the negative effects of climate change; including new pests and diseases, soil moisture extremes, increased temperature and salinity, and competing markets and food prices.

C:     Next 10 years (2017 – 2027)

In the next 10 years, we look forward positively. We will deal with our challenges and make the most out of our opportunities. NARI must strive to deliver positive Agricultural Development while at the same time ensuring the Institute’s sustainability into the future.

 

Transforming NARI to NARDI

Over the last 20 years we have seen NARI progressing on research and technology generation. We should look at the next 20 years as the phase of facilitating and contributing directly to development. This will require NARI to work in close partnership with not only the farming and rural communities but also with the private sector, various extension agents; processing, marketing and trading bodies; and policy and regulatory organizations. It also means a broader mandate for NARI that will allow it to not only focus on excellence in research and but also to move to effectively facilitate and contribute to development. This will require NARI to be transformed from a research to a research and development organization. We need to transform NARI into NARDI (National Agricultural Research and Development Institute) with a broader mandate to assure its effective contribution to development. This is a way for NARI and the Government of PNG.

Investing in Innovative Agriculture for Prosperity

We acknowledge the international donors and aid agencies such as AusAID, EU, ACIAR, PNGSDL, even our provincial governments such as the Morobe Provincial Government and many others that have appreciated the potential of R&D in agriculture and have supported NARI. We would like to express our gratitude and gratefulness to these organizations.

This kind of investment is a MUST if we accept Agriculture as the Agenda for PNG Development. With this challenge to all of us, I conclude my concluding remarks with appreciations to all for supporting and encouraging us.  

Our Grateful thanks to His Excellency Paul Murphy, Consular General of Australia, Hon Kelly Naru and Mr Greg Worthington-Eyre, and all of you.

We look forward to your continued support and partnership in working towards a prosperous PNG.

God bless you all!

 

Mr Joseph Tomerop

Deputy Chairman

NARI Council

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