Friday, February 11, 2011

Lae urban village takes up rice farming


An urban village in Papua New Guinea is the last place you will expect to find people growing rice.
You expect people from such villages to be getting their rice from the supermarket or village trade store.
Pat Newton from Wagang (Sipaia) village on the outskirts of Lae has decided to grow rice for his family consumption.

NARI officers and family members of Pat Newton discussing rice growing at Wagang village
Newton, a first-timer, is possibly the first to grow rice among the six Ahi villages of Yalu, Kamkumung, Hengali, Butibam, Yanga and Wagang.
He harvested his first crop last week.
Officers from the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) rice and grain project were on hand to provide technical assistance in harvesting and processing of rice.
Newton and his family were provided useful tips on growing rice and advised of the steps in harvesting and processing to get good eating quality and maximum yield from their efforts.
It all started when a family friend brought some rice seeds and encouraged Newton to try them out on his field.
The seeds were brought from OSICA Technical School in East New Britain province, which his friend’s son attended.
With the encouragement of his friend, Newton planted a reasonably-sized field with assistance from family members.
He could not believe that rice could grow so well on his land.
The good performance of his first crop has motivated Newton and he has decided to plant a new field with seeds to come from the recent harvest.

Rice growing at Wagang
Newton said he decided to grow rice as prices in the supermarkets were high and his family could not afford.
He called on his fellow Ong clansmen of Wagang and the Ahi community in general to grow their own rice as the prices of processed rice was high at the supermarkets and would continue to rise.
“We have good, fertile land capable of growing good quality rice and there is no reason why we should wander off to the city supermarkets looking for rice,” Newton said.
“We can grow rice in our backyards and gardens for our own family consumption and I encourage everyone to follow my footsteps.”
He said his family was willing to share seeds and their knowledge with others in the village and surrounding communities that were willing to grow rice.

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