Extension service is the bedrock of agriculture in Papua New Guinea

Ziampir Horticultural Group from Antiragen village in Markham at a farmer training facilitated by Department of Agriculture and Livestock Mutzing in collaboration with the National Agriculture Research Institute in Lae.

By planter’s child adventures

Growing up with a father who is an agriculture extension officer, I have witnessed and have seen the day to day significant challenges of delivering farmer trainings in rural villages with limited or nil resources.

In Kaiapit in Markham where agriculture extension is active, officers still go out to teach farmers and serve the people.

As seen in the photographs above this training was basically to train farmers to grow rice and other crops like cucumbers, watermelon and Chinese cabbages in the off season.

NARI through Taiwan ICDF supplied seedlings and also gave a rice milling machine for the farmers to use.

This kind of training is important as it can guide farmers to meet targets like how many kilograms of rice to harvest and the expected quality during harvest time.

When farmers are empowered with relevant knowledge and skill, they are better placed to see where value chain meets the supply chain.

These are little things but they are very very important at the grass root farmer level. This kind of training coupled with specific others can have a remarkable improvement on the lives of farmers. It can also encourage farmers to go down the food chain and diversify in the sale of their produce.

This means getting enough quality and scale right to meet the consistent quality required and premium markets desired which is the bigger picture.

Farmers always welcome this kind of training with gratitude and humility to learn.

Dad told me that they enjoyed a hearty meal of taro creamed in gur(claypot) and chicken with the farmers after the training.

DAL staff and farmers enjoying a meal after the training at Antiragen village.

This is also an opportunity for the Taiwanese officials to learn about peoples livelihood, culture and the language of Markham people which is important part of people to people connection and public diplomacy in practice.

And collaborations like this is the way forward in agriculture extension at the district level. Investing in rural agriculture is key to improve farmer knowledge and skills and meeting key expectations along the value and supply chain. It is also significant for peoples livelihood sustenance.

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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