Wheat is a very important crop on the world stage. However, in PNG, its value is slowly being recognised largely due to the high cost of imported feed and food that contain ingredients such as wheat.
One of NARI’s research targets is to diversify food and feed sources for households in high altitude areas. Wheat is mostly grown in high attitudes. To progress the development of wheat, funding is required to support research efforts into improved cultivation practices, post-harvest and processing practices, nutritional quality, pest and disease control and farm machinery.
Over the years, varietal trials have been established in Tambul, Western Highlands and Kandep in Enga and have shown to grow very well. A few farmers have taken on cultivating the crop and processing it with rudimentary tools. However, areas such as nutritional information and processing quality are lacking. Wheat is also tolerant to frost making it a very vital food during such trying times.
Currently there are unknown wheat varieties being grown in Tambul and Gembogl in Simbu province.
Commercial production of wheat in the country is an exciting prospect and has a great potential for reducing the import bill. It could also a potential for export crop for the country.