Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rice mill launched in Kutubu


Women in Kutubu, Southern Highlands, have all the reason to smile as they now own two rice milling machines to boost local production.
History was made last Friday when the first gains of white rice poured out of one of the brand new machines during the launch at Pimaga government station under the watchful eyes of over 2,000 farmers, mostly women from Foe, Faso and Moran areas.
Oil Search Ltd community affairs officer Paul Sapake (right) and Kutubu Foe Women's Association president Naomi Samuel cutting the ribbon to officially launch two rice milling machines at Pimaga in Kutubu.-Pictures by SENIORL ANZU
Oil Search Ltd, a resource developer in the oil and gas rich Southern Highlands province, handed over the two machines to the local women.
Interest for local rice production had gained momentum after the Kutubu Foe Women’s Association (KFWA) started planting rice from upland rice seeds which they received from NARI Lae in 2008 during the launch of the PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNGDiADF).
 In the last few years, more farmers joined to farm rice, including members of the Namoi Namo Women’s Association (Faso) and Moran Women’s Association.
However, a major hurdle was the lack of milling facilities which prompted KFWA, a member of the PNGWiADF, to seek support from possible avenues.
Through the PNGWiADF, the Department of Agriculture and Livestock provided a huge Satake rice milling machine, valued between K30-40, 000, to KFWA.
OSLdonated another machine, a micro-mill, worth more than K7, 000. 

First dish of milled rice pouring out of a brand new micro-mill at Pimaga in Kutubu last Friday from upland farming by women farmers from Foe, Faso and Moran areas
OSL facilitated the transportation of both machines to Kutubu.
The oil and gas developer, in partnership with Moro-based NGO, Community Development Initiative Foundation, also sourced resource people from NARI and PNGWiADF from Lae and Christian Leaders Training College in Banz to train interested rice farmers on field production and milling.
This training was conducted last week for more than 100 interested rice farmers.
During the launch, Kosi Sosoro, chairman of Kawaso Ltd, who witnessed the event, presented K2, 000 each to the three women’s associations from Kutubu.
OSL community affairs officers, Paul Sapake and Marc Mulungu, commended the Foe women for taking the initiative to venture into rice production.
Accolades also came from CDI-Moro manager Peter John, PNGWiADF president Maria Linibi and Dr Peter Gendua of NARI.
KFWA president Naomi Samuel said sago, which took 15-20 years to grow, had been their staple food all their lives.
She said the process of extracting sago was laborious and performed mostly by women, hence, her group had opted for rice to shorten food maturity period and also supplement household food intake.
Samuel said the group was aiming to produce large volumes of rice to supply to catering companies in the project areas.
She called on mothers from Faso and Moran to cultivate rice and mill them using the two machines.
The historical occasion was witnessed by representatives from Esso Highlands, landowner companies, government representatives, community leaders, NGOs, school children and farmers.

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