Saturday, November 19, 2011

Women farmers want reduced transport costs

Women farmers in Milne Bay say the high cost of transportation is a big obstacle to the sale of agricultural produce.
The women, members of the Natu Aida Cooperative Society of Goodenough Island, are calling on the government to look into their plight.
These women, who usually grow and sell yams, said that they were working hard to transport and market their yams and other produce to markets in Alotau and Port Moresby.
The society, made up of 36 women from Waikewala village in the Bolubolu district, is keen to organise the women and help in assisting with transportation and accessibility to markets. However, the high costs of transportation are a big problem.
The women also decried the lack of basic services in the Bolubolu district.
Group leader, Theresa Bobby, who recently visited the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) in Port Moresby, said that women worked hard in growing yams and other produce, but when it came to marketing and transportation, the women felt really disappointed because they could not sell the produce.
Bobby said when women transported their yams to Alotau town by boat, they spent between K15 and K20, depending on the size of each bag.
“Often, the women want to take more bags of yams but they cannot afford the high fees.
“We need more assistance in terms of agriculture and skills development courses.
“We are looking for ways and means to improve the lives of our mothers and families,” she said.
Bobby said the government, through DAL and relevant agencies, should consider the transport costs and try to assist the women in rural communities.
Her group is concerned that they have to travel all the way to Port Moresby to talk to government authorities.

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