There is still plenty of work to do in the field of invasive plants and insects in Papua New Guinea.
These were Pascal Pandau’s parting words when he retired at the age of 62 after serving the National Agricultural Research Institute for over 20 years.
Many young officers who have worked with Mr Pandau regard him as a very reliable, supportive officer and mentor.
Mr Pandau does not talk a lot but prefers to do his job without hesitation. Mr Pandau hails from Lumi, Sandaun province, and has been working on pests and invasive plants.
After receiving a farewell gift from NARI, Mr Pandau notes that there is plenty of work and opportunity in the field of invasive plants and pests.
There are very few officers like Mr Pandau who is willing to do more and get the job done on time.
Miriam Simin, a research associate with the Momase Regional Centre at Bubia in Lae, says he will always carry a notebook every time he goes out to the field.
“He will not leave his notebook behind. He ensures to keep a good record when he is out in the field,” Ms Simin explained.
Mr Pandau’s long work history within the agriculture sector especially with NARI is a testament of his commitment and drive to realise positive developments.
Mr Pandau thanked Senior Entomologist Dr Sim Sar, another mentor whom he had work alongside with for many years. Dr Sar also retired in 2020 after years of faithful service to NARI. Human Resource Talent Development Manager Roy Gagau commended Mr Pandau and the other retirees for their years of service and contribution towards agricultural research and development. Other retirees includes Mrs Monica Mazi and Andrew Darlie.
Mr Pandau chose agriculture as his career pathway after high school. He began his career in agriculture when he received his first training at Popondetta Agriculture College; received training as a cadet from the Department of Agriculture Stock and Fisheries in Port Moresby, Fisheries management from the University of Technology and held various roles in the early 1980s.
In 1982, his training was put to the test when he was assigned to assist biologists researching biological control for the invasive Salvinia molesta which originated in Brazil, was introduced to the Sepik River in the 1970s. Mr Pandau worked with Samson Laup, who later became the vice chancellor of University of Natural Resources and Environment and assisted other international organisations to find ways to address invasive water (Salvinia molesta) in Sepik.
Mrs Mazi and Dr Sim Sar served for 20 years while Andrew Darlie served 14 years. Mrs Mazi served as a research technician with the Wet Lowlands Mainland Programme now MRC Bubia. She joined the livestock programme at Labu before taking up the role of research associate in 2008.
Through her humility and dedication, she was offered the role of resource manager after three years.
Mrs Mazi spent a considerable amount of time, focusing on poultry.
Dr Sim Sar is one of the few entomologists in Papua New Guinea. He studied at the University of Queensland on a John Allwright Fellowship from 2008 to 2011 and completed a philosophical doctorate in agriculture. This study led to discovering a biological control for the sweetpotato weevil. Before joining NARI he worked with the Biology Department at the University of Papua New Guinea. Dr Sar joined NARI on January 15, 2001 and held various roles with NARI including information research coordinator in 2004; principal scientist 2010-2011; programme director agriculture systems 2012-2016; programme director information and knowledge 2016-2019 and special projects officer.
Andrew Darlie commenced his employment on January 1, 2007 and served as a technical assistant. He went on to play other roles such as, field supervisor, revenue officer and research associate in late 2009. After a year, he was appointed acting resource manager, then as a land development officer after four years. We wish them well in retirement.