The Kundiawa/Gembogl district in Simbu has shifted its focus to agriculture following the El Nino drought in the province. Kundiawa/Gembogl MP Tobias Kulang paid a brief visit to NARI's Sir Alkan Tololo Research Centre in Lae on January 14 2016 to see and learn about suitable agricultural technologies and innovations which would assist his district in coping with the prolonged drought.
Kulang provided an initial funding support of K100, 000 towards developing facilities at NARI Aiyura to enhance the production of planting materials of early maturing and improved crop varieties.
Kulang said he had plans to scale-out recommended technologies and venture into commercial agriculture in the near future. He said the short visit was inspiring and educational and he is confident that the partnership with NARI’s team of experts is a start in seeing improved and adaptive agricultural practices accessed by his people.
“It is interesting to note that we can use only one sweet potato node to plant and generate new planting materials. I will also use the design of the nursery and insect proof netting to construct nurseries at three resource centres in my district,” said Kulang.
These resource centres will become multiplication sites for both pathogen tested (PT) sweet potato as well as for Irish potato. Kulang visited the Momase Regional Centre at Bubia and discussed with Senior Scientist Elick Guaf on how best sweet potato varieties can be maintained and propagated before distributed to farmers.
He also visited the Momase Regional Livestock Centre at Labu to discuss ways in improving livestock breeding programs and low cost feed options for pigs and chicken for rural farmers who rely heavily on commercial feeds. He was keen to work towards improving competitiveness in the broiler market.
To support the initiative, Kulang has assured NARI officers that he will make it his responsibility to ensure that his government works to improve existing infrastructure in his district to support upcoming and essential agricultural rehabilitation programs.