By DAISY TANIOVA PAWA
THE PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation’s (PNG WiADF) two-day discussion in Lae on Tuesday and Wednesday should be a stepping stone for women in Agriculture, for the development of this nation.
The importance was stressed with the participation of farmers in forming their strategic plan.
The plan would provide an opening for the foundation to seek assistance from government organisations and donor agencies.
Initiator of the foundation, Maria Linibi, said she recognised that the majority of PNG's population, of over 85%, lived in the rural areas and their livelihood was dependent on agriculture and related food activities for food production and income.
Mrs Linibi said that studies had shown that women in PNG did the majority of work in agriculture.
“That was why it was important that the capabilities of women in agriculture be enhanced so that there can be improvement and development in the standard of living in PNG,” she said.
The talks attracted organisations and dignitaries from around the country and abroad to speak about the challenges women faced in agriculture development and how they could be assisted in overcoming these obstacles.
The PNG WiADF was formed in 2007 and today has 24 affiliated groups from 13 different provinces.
Mrs Linibi said the foundation committed itself with passion to pursue and implement policies that were conducive to investments in human resource development, research and infrastructure to achieve food security.
She said the foundation would encourage generation of employment and income among women and promote equitable access to productive and financial resources.
Mrs Linibi said the foundation recognised the importance of food security for sustainable agriculture, floriculture, fisheries, forestry, other natural resources and rural development.
She said the sustainable development policies of the foundation would go into promoting full participation and empowerment of women, and equitable distribution of income and access to necessary social services such as education and health.
The foundation recognises that improving the quality of life for women can have an enormous effect on society because of the multiple roles women have in raising children, in education and as stewards of natural resources, to provide for their families.
Yesterday’s discussion was the highlight of the event where the women participants were able to air their grievances and establish networks with other stakeholders and partners who provided support and alternatives to the foundation’s effectiveness.
It was also an opportunity for the women in agriculture to showcase their produce by setting up stalls outside the Allan Quatermain Hall of the National Research Institute in Bubia.