Saturday, December 26, 2009

Potential for vegetable production in mid altitudes of New Britain

NARI staff harvesting potatoes at Wildog, Sinivit LLG in East New Britain
A Wildog Mine field worker showing off potatoes harvested at Wildog, Sinivit LLG in East New Britain .-Pictures by NARI Keravat


Introduced vegetables like potato, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower are important food and cash crops in the highlands of PNG.
The cool climate in the higher altitude and central highlands allow for the cultivation of these crops by farmers.
The demand for these vegetables in the lowlands, particularly the New Guinea Islands region, is high presently.
Together with transportation costs, the prices are relatively high in most supermarkets. Andersons Foodland in Kokopo, East New Britain province (ENBP), sells its potato, broccoli, carrot and cauliflowers produces at prices ranging from K4 to K7 a kilogram. Papindo is selling cauliflower at K6.40/kg, broccoli at K8.80/kg, and carrots at K4/kg. Most of these products are transported in from the highlands of mainland PNG.
However these crops can also be grown in the mid-altitude areas of PNG’s Islands provinces, ranging from 300 metres above sea level and higher.
Preliminary research by NARI in 2006 has proven that potato, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower varieties can be produced in the region.
These crops did well in the study, giving yields of 5-8 tones per hectare.
These are short-term crops which take three to four months to mature and are highly nutritious.
However they are hardly found in everyday meals of people or in the local markets.
With the current demand for potatoes and other introduced vegetables and the opportunity for their production in the mid-altitude areas of the islands provinces, NARI is currently carrying out more research work on these crops in the region for further development.
More information can be sought through NARI Islands regional centre at Keravat, ENBP.

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