The Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) and ROC Taiwanese Agricultural Technical Mission are working closely to promote the production of rice, grain and food crops.
The Taiwanese team, based in Lae, Morobe Province, has been supporting DAL with its agricultural programs through the provision of seedlings, farm machinery, farmer training and other assistance.
One such collaborative program is the establishment of a demonstration farm at DAL’s Agriculture and Resource Development Centre at Erap in the Markham Valley. The location is ideal for farmers within the province as well as the Mamose and Highlands regions to seek technical assistance and advice.
DAL’s Northern Regional Programme caretaker Director, John Jave, says DAL is happy to work in partnership with the Taiwanese experts and other stakeholders to promote agricultural development. DAL appreciates the support of its partners and the sharing of resources to undertake agricultural farming activities and boost people’s livelihood.
Jave said the current effort is aimed at creating a system of food production, demonstrating suitable food crops for planting, and securing markets. This is to allow farmers to consider options available in either smallscale farming, semi-commercial or commercial operations.
The Taiwanese team and DAL will conduct field days for farmers and the general public to observe the food production activities and discuss the opportunities available as well as seek technical assistance. Corn is one of the food crops being planted besides watermelon and pawpaw.
Jave said the collaborative program is aimed at showing the farmers and the public that they can set up viable farms as business ventures or money making opportunities. Farmers are encouraged to use their land to grow various types of crops which can be supplied and marketed on a regular basis.
Jave said under the program, Taiwan will assist in supplying seedlings, fertilizer, farm machinery and some labour whilst DAL will conduct supervision, provide labour, harvest and organise markets. Jave said DAL officers are happy with the arrangements and are working closely with their Taiwanese counterparts to assist PNG farmers.
Another collaborative program is expected to be formalised soon with the Correctional Institutional Service (CIS) in which low-risk inmates will be trained in basic farming skills. DAL and the Taiwanese team will be offering their facilities and expertise to support CIS in its rehabilitation program. The idea is to provide basic farming training to the inmates who can utilise the acquired knowledge and skills to support themselves upon completing their jail terms.