An asparagus specialist based in Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands Province, is seeking the help of the authorities to establish his crop. Heriso Gahekave, who headlines asparagus research and farming at the University of Goroka says the province has potential to export asparagus overseas. He wants to see asparagus production take off as another alternative economical and health care product.
"This high-value crop is suited to the bioclimatic conditions of Eastern Highlands. It is finding a niche here because it is spring season all year round in Goroka and the Highlands region," said Gahekave. He has uncovered a germination protocol, equated to 100 per cent, that is significantly better than that achieved elsewhere in the world. He believes in 'integrated farming' and in using all available land to grow the crop.
Under Gahekave's guidance, the University of Goroka has been growing asparagus for five years now. Although PNG imports most of her asparagus, Gahekave hopes the UOG can turn that around. China is the major asparagus exporting country in the world, followed by other lucrative ex-porters like Mexico, Peru, Thailand, United Sates, Spain and the Netherlands.