Community initiative has paid off for Foe women in the Kutubu area of Southern Highlands. Through sheer interest and determination for rice production, the Kutubu Foe Women’s Association has been fortunate in acquiring two rice milling machines that will be launched tomorrow at the Pimaga government station.
This is a result of the association’s initiative in taking up modern agriculture for food and income on a sustainable basis.
Among others, the group is pursuing rice to supplement daily diets and as well supply surplus to possible market opportunities created by the boom in oil and gas developments in the Kutubu area.
Led by women leader Naomi Samuel, rural women have already mastered the basic techniques of rice production.
Interested rice farmers from the Faso area have also picked up rice farming, spreading the interest to the entire Kutubu region and even the Moran area.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNGWiADF), both based in Lae, have been in the Kutubu area since 2009, providing technical assistance.
This initiative has been supported by Kutubu’s community development initiative and Oil Search Ltd.
NARI’s senior scientist Dr Peter Gendua and PNGWiADF president, Maria Linibi have been on site this week providing hands-on training and technical advice to about 100 interested rice farmers across Pimaga, Orokana, Waro, Tiriabo, Tugiri, Soro and Inu villages.
NARI has so far provided two upland rice varieties (NARI Rice One or NR 1 and NR 15) suitable for the environment with two rounds of training on land preparation, seed sowing, transplanting, field management, harvesting, threshing and milling to major villages in Kutubu.
|Pictured are women at Pimaga having hands-on training in seed sowing of a NARI released rice variety, NR 1, on Monday|
However, a major hurdle faced by farmers was proper milling of their farm harvests.
Many expressed the need to have rice milling machines.
Members of the Kutubu Foe Women’s Association have harvested tonnes of rice but milling has also been a constraint.
After knocking on doors of various organisations, Oil Search Limited and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock have come good in providing a rice milling machine each for the association.
The support has come along due to the association’s own desire and determination to pursue agriculture for development, particularly in rice cultivation.
During tomorrow’s launch, the two rice milling machines will be officially handed over to the Kutubu Foe Women’s Association.
The operations of the machines will also be demonstrated to the farmers and those with harvests will have the opportunity to mill their produce.
The initiative has demonstrated public-private partnership of all stakeholders in community development.