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Building Human Resource Capacity in Science and Technology for Agricultural Development in Western Pacific Countries

The NARI-EU-ACP-S&T Programme is a capacity development initiative for research and development institutions in three Western Pacific countries – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The programme, which comprises three projects or actions, is amied at addressing the lack of appropriate human resource capacity on science and technology for agricultural development in research, extension and development institutions in the Pacific. This capacity is essential for conducting and promoting agricultural research aimed at enhancing productivity, effenciency, and sustainability of the smallholders agriculture sector.

PNG’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Solomon Islands and the Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Technical Centre (VARTC), Vanuatu, have successfully obtained funding from the European Union (EU) for the three major projects, enabling them to provide expert training to agricultural researchers, research managers, disseminators and farmer innovators in nine institutions across the three Western Pacific countries.

It has been a superb achievement by NARI, MAL and VARTC to win funding for three capacity development projects in this highly competitive call from the European Union to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states. The call was open to national and regional science and technology (S&T) organisations, universities, and research networks in 79 ACP member states, 27 member states, three candidate countries of EU, and the three member states of the European Free Trade Association.

The ACP Science and Technology Programme is an ACP-EU co-operation programme to support ACP countries in strengthening research, development and innovation as well as in formulating and implementing S&T policies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The actions under this project are:
Action One: Capacity Building in Core Research-Related Competencies and Networking among Staff of Agricultural Research Institutions in Threes Western Pacific Countries
Action Two: Capacity Development for Research Planning, Programming and Implementation in Agricultural R&D Institutions of Western Pacific Countries
Action Three: Capacity Development in Conservation and Utilization of Invaluable Plant Genetic Resources in Western Pacific Countries

Associates in these projects are:
•Fresh Produce Development Agency Limited, Papua New Guinea
•Coffee Industry Corporation Limited, Papua New Guinea
•PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute Limited, Papua New Guinea
•Papua New Guinea Women in Agriculture Development Foundation, Papua New Guinea,
•Kastom Gaden Association, Solomon Islands, and
•Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vanuatu

These projects together will cost about EURO 2.8 million (Kina 11.50 million) and are expected to greatly strengthen the R&D capacities of these Western Pacific countries. This is a unique achievement for NARI, MAL and VARTC. We sincerely thank the EU-ACP-S&T Programme for awarding these projects. The projects are being implemented and will continue for three years in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.