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Good NARI representation at extension conference

A paper titled “Identifying value chain constraints for high value horticulture crops (Irish potato, Sweetpotato and Bulb onion) in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea” was among a number of papers from NARI presented at the International Conference on Agriculture Extension held at the University of Goroka last September. The paper presented by Mauro Okrupa, NARI’s Research Associate, highlighted the approaches used in selecting three agricultural value chains in the highlands under the Rural Economic Development phase two (RED2) project. It explained the methodologies used to select Irish potato, sweetpotato, and bulb onion as the three crops of economic importance to the majority of the highlands farming communities. It also discussed the effectiveness of the focus group survey approach which resulted in identifying constraints faced by semi commercial, commercial and lead farmers from production, post harvest and marketing of sweetpotato, Irish potato and bulb onion. The survey provided the basis upon which appropriate information and training packages were developed to address prevailing knowledge and information gaps, identify and engage extension partners like provincial and district DPI/DAL officers, secondary school teachers teaching agricultural classes, NGOs, FBOs, lead farmers and reps from farmers cooperative societies to be TOTs and the establishment of 10 Farmer Resource Centers (FRCs) where farmers training on improved agricultural technologies and business opportunities, field demonstrations and on-farm research trials will be conducted. The paper highlighted the important role of the FRCs as the conduit for provision of extension services and that its ownership and sustainability is crucial. Other papers presented at the conference were: Potential for Vegetable Intercropping with Coffee in the Papua New Guinea Highlands (Johannes Pakatul), Challenges in Agricultural Technology Dissemination for Climate Change Mitigation: Experiences in Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea (Jeremiah Ahizo and Martin Lobao), Adaptable Organic Soil Fertility Management Practices for Improved Sweetpotato Production in the PNG Highlands (Yapo Jeffrey, William Sirabis and Ramakrishna Akkinapally) and Household Processing of Sweetpotato, Cassava and Yam into Flour – A Case Study in Kopafo Village Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea (Isidora Ramita and Martin Lobao. The conference organising committee was led by Professor Alan Quartermain with the assistance of Prof Joseph Sukwianomb, UOG Chancellor and Prof Musawe Sinebare, UOG Vice Chancellor. Present at the conference was Hon. Henry Tutuwo Ame, Vice Minister for Agriculture and Livestock and Potaisa Hombunaka from Coffee Industry Cooperation.

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