The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with PNG Women in Agriculture (PNGWIA), National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI),Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), trained and distributed improved varieties of seeds and planting materials to local farmers and youths from different communities around Southern Highlands Province last week Tuesday, 12th March 2019.
There was a two-day training conducted at the Ialibu Resource Centre in Ialibu town, Ialibu-Pangia District.Participation included stakeholders from FAO, PNGWIA, NARI, DAL, Southern Highlands Women in Agriculture (SHWIA) members,community leaders, farmers and youths from Ialibu-Pangia and Nipa-Kutubu districts. FAO Earthquake Recovery Project Coordinator,Helmtrude Sikas-Iha, at the opening thanked and welcome all the participants to the training on multiplication of seeds and planting materials for distribution. She said that FAO is a specialized technical agency of the United Nations that helps in reducing hunger and promotes healthy food.“FAO and partners will assist local farmers here in the earthquake affected areas of Southern Highlands province with improved seeds and planting materials, and train farmers on how to use adaptive agricultural skills to manage these food crops,” Sikas-Iha said.
Farmers and youths from Kumiane Village in Pangia, Pimaga in Kutubu and Ialibu expressed gratitude towards this project. The bulk of the improved varieties of seeds and planting materials supplied by NARI were distributed equally amongst the farmers from the three sites for multiplication. The seeds and planting materials of soybean,mung bean, open pollinated corn and sweet potato consisted not only contained improved varieties but also nutritional benefits.
The PDAL Deputy Advsior Nelson Yamba on behalf of the provincial government acknowledged FAO’s presence in the province and assured the participants that the provincial government is looking forward to working with FAO to deliver good and healthy food to the farmers in the province and for efficient seed multiplication. “I’m very happy to see youths and farmers here at this training as you will learn something here and go to your villages and teach fellow community members on new ways of growing crops,” Yamba said. He said people must be serious in farming and make use of the land to earn their living.
PNGWIA President Maria Linibi encouraged the youths and farmers to make good use of the seeds and multiply across the villages. “These are improved seeds and so we expect you to make good use of your land to multiply them for distribution to other members in your villages,” Linibi said.
NARI Tambul R&D Coordinator and member of Highlands Disaster Relief Committee, Kud Sitango emphasized on the importance of proper land preparation and quality management of crop husbandry and that NARI will be joining FAO and PNGWIA to conduct regular monitoring visits to the sites to ensure there is quality production. At a multiplication site at Kumiane village,Pangia the project team praised the villagers for clearing and preparing the land in advance of planting. A community leader and Ialibu based police officer,Sargent Pora Yoruka at Kumiane village offered support to the women and youth farmers and encouraged the people to produce more crops. “We have lots of untouched virgin land here at Kumiane so now I want to encourage everyone to work in their land as free seeds are given to us today,” Yokura said.
The training ended on Wednesday 13th March with lead farmer groups receiving seeds and planting materials for multiplication. The actual launching of this project is planned for August 2019 and will coincide with the distribution of seeds and planting materials in Ialibu-Pangia district.