(Left to right) Head of Agriculture Department Prof Mcquine Maino, Unitech’s Vice Chancellor Dr Ora Renagi, Trukai’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Preston, and Rice Development Manager Aina Davis during the signing of the MOA between Trukai Industries Ltd and Unitech.
Trukai Industries Limited has ventured into a partnership with the University of Technology to train local farmers under its Smart Farmer Program at the University of Technology Taraka campus in Lae on Wednesday 12th October.
The partnership was formally announced with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
This five-year agreement is a private-public partnership for the promotion of academic and professional collaboration of rice research and training through the advancement of science and Technology at the university.
Trukai Industries Chief Executive Officer Alan Preston said this partnership demonstrates the company’s support for local rice farmers through Trukai’s Smart Farmer Program and is its contribution towards rice development in PNG.
Trukai Industries Rice Development Manager Aina Davis said this training will be more practical-based and will be for a period of two weeks.
Through this program, the company aims to enable local rice farmers to become smallholder farmers and then transition into semi-commercial and commercial farmers.
Registration will open for the Certificate in Irrigation Rice Farming later this year. The Trukai Smart Farmer program will see 300 farmers certified in its pilot training in 2023.
Davis said the Trukai Smart Farmer Program will touch on the basics of irrigation rice farming and will be for farmers of all levels, from elementary to commercial-based farmers.
The collaboration with the University’s Agriculture Department will enable farmers to share and access classrooms, research laboratories, and farm or field facilities for farmer training, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate student training, research and development, and extension activities.
Professor Macquin Maino, Head of the Agriculture Department, stated that the department and university are pleased to collaborate with Trukai in this five-year agreement.
He said this MOA is beneficial for students from the department as well, as part of the agreement will have students engage in work-integrated learning experiences with Trukai and learn hands-on skills from professionals in the field.
Prof. Maino added that as part of the agreement, the University will provide eight hectares of land at the University Farm for the purpose of rice development projects and training on rice farming systems.
Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor Dr. Ora Renagi said Trukai Industries is a long-time partner and supporter of the University and the Agriculture department for over 20 years. This partnership further strengthens the professional relationship between the two organizations, she added.