Horizon Scholar Renae Bice has recently returned from a two-week study tour in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where she and fellow Charles Sturt University students visited agricultural projects in Lae, the second largest city in PNG, and the province of Jiwaka.
The study tour formed part of Renae’s annual industry work placement, an important component of the AgriFutures™ Horizon Scholarship program. Scholars are encouraged to take on placements outside their skills-sets and interests to expose them to new career paths and opportunities.
The study tour was an initiative under the New Colombo Mobility Program, provides funding to Australian universities and consortia to support Australian undergraduate students to participate in semester-based or short-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research in 40 host locations across the Indo-Pacific region.
Three days of the tour was spent exploring New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL), the world’s leading producer of sustainable palm oil as well as a sugar cane plantation.
“On the news, you often hear how unsustainable palm oil production is but when we visited NBPOL we saw that it is very sustainable, especially because the plantations are planted on rangelands not in rainforests.
“It was amazing to see three different types of agricultural industries being integrated across the whole supply chain. Oil palm kernels and molasses (by-products) are fed to cattle. Also, the by-product from the sugar and oil is used to power the whole village of Ramu. It was impressive to witness how sustainable a small region could be,” said Renae.
Time in Lae proved extremely valuable, visiting local villages, UniTech, the National Agriculture Research Institute, along with Mainland Holdings crocodile farm and chicken hatchery.