Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rural farmers learn rice farming

Julie Sip of NARI introducing various species of introduced rice to farmers from Kainantu and Obura-Wonenara areas of Eastern Highlands province

By TRIYA PAPAYA and JULIE SIP of NARI

Training on rice production for farmers in Eastern Highlands was conducted by the National Agricultural Research Institute’s Highlands Regional Centre (HRC) at Aiyura recently.
The objective was to disseminate the knowledge and skills on various aspects of rice production and management practices for quality and quantity output and to further expand rice production in the Highlands for enhanced food security and income.
Twenty-two farmers attended the training of which four were females.
The farmers were from Tuempinka, Kainantu district, and Yomunka ward in the Obura-Wonenara district.
Most of them were community, youth and women group leaders.
The training was delivered by rice and grain scientist, Julie Sip, with assistance from Triya Papaya, information and outreach assistant of HRC.
In his welcome message, Issac Taraken, research scientist on natural resource management at HRC, stressed that the forefathers in the Highlands were among the first to do farming as was evident by archaeological drainage at Kuk in the Western Highlands province.
“They were used to growing sweet potato and other crops such as yam and taro, but the recently-introduced rice growing technology has been gaining momentum to date,” he said.
Mr Taraken urged the farmers to make good use of what was imparted during the training for improved rice production.
The training covered introduction to rice varieties suitable for highlands conditions, skills and knowledge on cultivation methods, field management, harvesting, threshing, drying and grain storage practices.
Ms Sip said it was important to note that different rice varieties performed differently in different areas and farmers needed to have a good knowledge of having suitable varieties to grow in their respective areas to avoid shortfalls in production.
A field demonstration further provided insights to the participants.
Mr Taraken also provided some highlights on basic soil management practices, especially on the importance of mulching in gardens for rice and other crops.
He urged farmers not to burn bushes unnecessarily as they hosted beneficial organisms and also protected the soil from the adverse effects of sun and rain.
The participants were overwhelmed with the outcome of the training and commended NARI and the trainers.
They left with satisfaction and pledged to form a mini rice growers’ association within their specific localities in the hope of forming one provincial association in the future with help from NARI HRC and line agencies such the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.

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