Our desire in the long term is to turn smallholder rural farmers to become entrepreneurs in the process. For this to happen, we focus on improving marketing systems for priority crop and livestock products and enterprises.

Current research focusing on Marketing Systems look at the following

Existing supply and value chains assessed

New promising enterprises commercialized

Post-harvest practices for priority crops improved

Value addition and downstream processing of selected crops and livestock promoted

Collective action by farmers promoted for enhancing scale economies

Marketing networks and infrastructure improved

Appropriate mechanization of priority enterprises and supply chains

Galip nut production and marketing project

Galip (Canarium indicum) is a high quality nut with a unique taste and the potential to become a world commodity nut. It is indigenous to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In partnership with local and international collaborators, we have been leading the research for development over more than 15 years to develop galip nut as an alternative commodity crop in Papua New Guinea.

Our galip products were formally launched in 2018 in East New Britain and Port Moresby. City Pharmacy Limited group of companies have partnered with us with the marketing of the products in Port Moresby.

The galip processing factory has also made considerable progress in further mechanizing the laborious pulping process to separate the flesh of the nuts from the nut-in-shell. Innovative thinking converted a commercial scale fruit juicer into a depulping equipment which greatly enhances efficiency of the process.

Another achievement in the area of mechanization is the acquisition of a motorized galip cracker which was supplied from a company in South Africa and which can process 150kg/ of NIS/hour. That is compared to 100kg/day with 5 labourers using hand crackers. The same company also designed and delivered a galip production line for sorting of the cracked galip nuts.

The project also developed a solar-powered medium-scale galip dryer by modifying a second-hand container to dry freshly depulped nuts to the 2-3% moisture content.

A current project funded by the ACIAR is taking a whole value-chain approach and focussing on gaining a better understanding of the opportunities and conditions for private sector participation in the Canarium industry that will aid industry stakeholders to make investment decisions. Some of the work includes establishing domestic market linkages, operation of a medium scale galip processing factory, capacity building of interested private sector entrepreneurs especially women and further promotion of galip as a new industry. Great strides have been made since the project started in 2015.

Currently, a number of projects and small studies are being implemented in this mega-project addressing various aspects from production to marketing in support of the development of Galip nut as a commercial crop. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has been over the past 15 years as major partner to us. An ACIAR funded project ‘Developing markets and products for the Pacific Islands and PNG Canarium nut industry’ ended in 2016. The project investigated value-adding and processing opportunities for both domestic and export markets in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The following are major outputs achieved for the PNG part of the project:

Market opportunities identified

Commercial Galip roasting protocols developed

Introduction of a manual nut cracker

A range of potential products developed and tested with consumers (biscuits, oil and oil products, kernel based products)

Protocols for improved shelf life to meet export market requirements

Recommendations on best practice for growers handling to meet export food safety requirements )

Finalised industry standards and protocols

Finalised food safety and product testing protocols for processors

Information on the key drivers and barriers for different stakeholder groups in market and product development in PNG

Sweet potato marketing systems

Sweetpotato is not only the most important food crop for large parts of the population living in highland areas above 600-800 m above sea level, it has also evolved to a commodity that is now traded in short-to-long distance supply chains. Total production is estimated at 4.6 million tonnes/year with about 3.4 million tonnes/year produced in the seven highland provinces. It is estimated that around 11,000 t/year are shipped from the highlands to Port Moresby markets and somewhere between 30 – 50,000t are traded in total.

A four-year study on an ‘integrated approach for systemic change sustained development of the Papua New Guinea sweet potato value chain’ was completed in 2016. This mega-project was a part of our long-term investment to address gaps in knowledge, technologies and practices in the sweet potato supply chain and enhance opportunities to add value to the crop for better returns to growers with a long term goal of facilitating more efficient value chains servicing diverse markets with different sweet potato based products. The ACIAR funded project was implemented in collaboration with the University of New England, NSW Department of Primary Industry, PNG Rural Women’s Development Initiative and Fresh Produce Development Agency. 2016. The project undertook a number of studies to better understand social, cultural, and political factors impacting on the Sweet Potato supply chain in PNG and improve uptake of postharvest technologies that will help in minimizing transit losses and improve quality of fresh roots in the markets.

With increase around the informal activities of sweetpotato, we are responding to various identified needs in finding technical solutions to current production problems. Issues being addressed in collaboration with our partners with support from ACIAR are:

Access to Quality Planting Material

We are working in close collaboration with the FPDA in establishing a seed system for the supply of quality sweetpotato planting material. The work focuses on areas with a relatively larger number of growers who produce for sale to markets and are considered commercial farmers. The areas include the Asaro Valley, Hagen Central, Minj, and the Baiyer Valley. Participating lead farmers from these sites are supplied with insect-proof field screen houses.

Soil fertility improvement

Maintaining soil fertility in a more intensive sweetpotato systems now used in the major growing areas is an increasing challenge for growers. Mineral fertilizers are expensive and not easily accessible. Therefore, alternatives are explored to investigate organic fertilizer options either as an improved fallow, legume rotation (peanut and soybean) or incorporating supplements (coffee pulp, chicken manure, improved compost) into the mounds.

Pest and Disease Management

The sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius) is considered the major pest of sweetpotato especially during dry periods. Recent surveys also confirmed the presence of the West Indian sweetpotato weevil (Euscepes postfasciatus) in the country. Effective and affordable management options that are suitable for the local context in PNG are still not available. Low cost management options are being explored with the longer term aim of having an integrated sweetpotato weevil management package available for sweetpotato growers in PNG. The options explored currently include biological control using the fungus Metharhizium anisopliae, use of barrier crops that prevent incursions of the pest into sweetpotato plots, options of using mulch from plant species with insecticidal and repellent properties, pheromone traps and other cultural practices such as isolation, sanitation and use of pathogen-tested planting materials.