Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Port Moresby farmer trainees graduate

The Port Moresby Farmer Training Centre was established 10 years ago by a former secondary school agriculture teacher John Mebil.

Asseneth Tugiau, superintendent vocational education, Department of Education, presenting certificate to Natasha Noah, while John Mebil looks on.

Located at 12-Mile outside Port Moresby, the centre with about 30ha of land, provides agricultural training courses for school leavers, unemployed youths and interested people. Last week, five young men and women graduated with certificates in integrated farming after successfully completing a 12-months course.
The group was sponsored by Foundation for People and Community Development Inc. (FPCD) under its youth mental health programme funded by AusAid.
Mebil, the principal director, said the graduation also marked the centre’s 10th anniversary.
He said the turnout was small but everyone was happy and enjoyed the feast of cow, sheep and pig meat after the event.
The former Laloki secondary school teacher said he started the centre with the aim of continuing to teach and train young Papua New Guineans in agricultural farming for a sustainable livelihood.
Mebil said agriculture was the mainstay of our economy and provided the best opportunity for young people to participate in rural development.
Mebil said the five youths - who learned basic skills in livestock, food crops, rural engineering as well as eco-tourism and human spiritual development - did very well.
One of the incentives provided was in the form of savings with the PNG Microfinance bank.
Whatever the trainees produced and marketed during the training programme was saved in the bank and the accumulated savings was given back to them on graduation day.
The centre has the capacity to take up to 60 trainees and Mebil has appealed to the government, non-government organisations, donor agencies and private sector to provide more support to encourage young people to be trained in agriculture.

The five graduands sitting in front flanked by official guests during the ceremony.
 He said with major developments such as the LNG coming up there were more opportunities now for people in and around Central province to venture into food security activities.
“Young people should be encouraged to go into agriculture farming as there is a big demand for fresh produce, livestock and other agricultural industries,” Mebil said.
He thanked the agencies that either sponsored the centre or sent representatives to the graduation including FPCD, Education Department, Central provincial government, PNG Microfinance and Fresh Produce Development Agency.
He was disappointed that Department of Agriculture and Livestock did not send anyone.

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