Deputy Prime Minister and Abau MP Sir Puka Temu has approved K38, 000 from his electoral funds for the establishment of a series of resource centres in the district.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) will establish the centres.
The approval was made during a special joint district planning and budget priority committee (JDPBPC) meeting for Abau district held in Kupiano on April 21.
While approving the funds, Sir Puka expressed his appreciation towards NARI’s research-for-development (R4D) initiatives in his district over the recent years.
Sir Puka also expressed concerns that soil productivity had been declining in villages in the Aroma local level government (LLG) and asked NARI scientists to develop soil improvement programmes in Aroma.
During the meeting, Clifton David Gwabu of NARI’s Southern regional centre at Laloki in Central province presented the resource centre budget to Sir Puka and JDPBPC members.
Mr Gwabu thanked Sir Puka and his committee members and assured them that the funds would be used for continued R4D work in Abau through the resource centre concept.
While updating on NARI’s past, present and future development plans in Abau, Mr Gwabu revealed to date NARI’s presence was in Merani in the Cloudy LLG and Maopa and Egalauna in Aroma LLG but now, with the funding, NARI would extend its work to Amazon Bay LLG in addition to further expansion in other parts of Aroma and Cloudy Bay LLGs.
Mr Gwabu said NARI was currently piloting an agricultural innovative project called Life Long Learning for Farmers (L3F) in Abau district, which upon its success, would be extended to the rest of Central province.
The budget was presented at the request of Isoa Damai, the business representative of Abau JDPBPC, who is also the leader of Merani farmers who are working through NARI’s resource centre network.
Mr Damai invited NARI to put a budget proposal together because since the start of NARI’s work in Abau in 2007, there was no direct funding assistance from the district.
He said collaboration and partnership was now being strengthened.