Agriculture should be the centre of PNG’s development agenda and targeted by all stakeholders for development if the nation is to proper and become one of the developed nations of the world, said Director General of PNG’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) Dr Raghunath Ghodake.
Dr Ghodake said NARI’s assertion has been that agriculture was the most important sector in the PNG economy because the vast majority of the PNG population depends on this sector and also due to its untapped but realizable potential.
“This potential is to assure food security, improve cash incomes and provide comfortable livelihoods,” he said. “This is also to bring total prosperity and sustainable development in the country.”
Dr Ghodake made the statement when addressing guests and farmers during the 2012 Agricultural Innovations Show at Bubia in Lae, Morobe province. He said prosperity in agriculture can address other social problems such as managing law and order, taking care of health issues, help educating children, bringing in peace and harmony, managing and sustaining environment and its integrity, and leading to overall prosperity of all.
“And this is what is ingrained in and required in the PNG Vision 2050”, he said.
Dr Ghodake said the event was organized around the theme “Investing in Innovative Agriculture for Prosperity” to create awareness among stakeholders and influence the enabling policy environment so that the crucial importance of innovative agriculture is appreciated by all concerned and favorable policy decisions are made in supporting investment in innovative agriculture.
“This is the ideal time to focus on the issue for investment for tomorrow,” said Dr Ghodake in view of the pathway created by PNG Vision 2050 and the boom in the non-renewable resource sector.
He said PNG has both comparative and absolute advantages in its resource rich agriculture with enormous untapped and realizable potential in agricultural growth which can be harnessed through agricultural research and innovative agricultural development.
In thanking some 50 plus organizations that exhibited at the show, Dr Ghodake said the event was unique for PNG in recognizing and valuing the importance of innovative agricultural development. He added the show was an opportunity created for stakeholders and participants, from all works of life, to see, feel and experience innovations in agriculture.
Dr Ghodake said NARI has come of age in terms of its maturity, resources, programmes and development relevance not only to PNG but also to the Pacific Region and the World. He added that in a short span of 15 years, the Institute has released 27 improved technologies and farming practices to the PNG farming community.
He attributed much of the success to positive support and contributions by key stakeholders including the government of PNG, AusAID through the Agricultural Research and Development Support Facility, European Union and other donors, partners and collaborators. Dr Ghodake also acknowledged the commitment and dedication by its staff across research centres around the country and urged them to continue their good work for the good of the country.
Morobe Governor Luther Wenge was Chief Guest and Director General of Office of Higher Education Professor Kavanamur was Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker. Among the VIPs were Vice-Chancellors of University of PNG (Professor Ross Hynes) and University of Technology (Dr Albert Schram) and President of Lae Show Society, Mr Mike Quinn.