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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online) - The University of Vudal in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, graduated its first group with bachelor’s degrees in tropical agriculture.

Thirty-five graduates, seven of them women, pioneered the program in 1999.

The graduation was also a joint ceremony of the Vudal and Queensland Universities.

Twelve members of the Vudal University staff also graduated after completing postgraduate studies at various levels with Queensland University.

The introduction of the degree program and the successful graduation of the first group of graduates was a milestone for the university. It has striven to train graduates to meet the needs of the agriculture industry.

Vice Chancellor Professor Wong said the program was developed by staff in collaboration with industry and the community.

Eight of the graduating students had already secured employment as a result of a six-months industrial training attachment as part of the degree program.

"I am proud to say that the curriculum fulfills the needs of our clients," Professor Wong said.

Wong announced that the university received a grant of K11.8 million under AusAID’s PNG Incentive Fund. This is for a three-year project on development of an integrated agriculture-training program for rural farmers in East New Britain.

The project included construction of a community resource centre and development of training materials to train rural farmers and assist smallholder and subsistence farmer access to services, information and resources.

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