Dr Murom Banabas, Head of Agronomy at the PNG Oil Palm Research Association, was the recipient of the Crawford Fund 2013 Derek Tribe Award, which honours of the Fund’s inaugural Executive Director, Emeritus Prof Derek Tribe.
The award recognises Dr Banabas’s 22 years of research and technical assistance dedicated to improving the sustainability and productivity of the oil palm industry in PNG.
Dr Banabas has dedicated his efforts to translating complex scientific information into more simple practices that improve the standard of living of farmers. He has exhibited a real passion for working with local villagers, developing a methodology designed for smallholder farmers to grow food crops in association with cash crops – an essential mix in PNG.
The resultant food cropping systems are productive and resilient, while overcoming production constraints to plantation crops. Dr Banabas has made an epic journey from his rural farming back ground in his home village in a remote area of the Finistere Ranges of PNG to his current position as a leading agricultural scientist in a national industry research institution. This achievement and his continuing substantive contributions to improving agriculture in PNG make him an especially worthy recipient of the 2013 Derek Tribe Award.
Dr Banabas made a presentation “Working towards environmentally and socially sustainable oil palm production in PNG” at CSIRO, Canberra in October last year.
In an interview that Murom did with Radio Australia during a visit to Australia earlier last year he explains the important food security impacts of his work on a palm oil project for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.