B’ville to grow bulb onions


A COMMUNITY-based organisation has  introduced bulb onion farming to communities in the Wakunai district Bougainville.
These communities in Tokarao and Sisiwi in the Rotokas will be the first in the area to learn farming onions.
The Individual Reform and Restoration Movement (IRRM) is the first community-based organisation to step on the island of Bougainville to prove that bulb onion can  be grown in coastal areas.
IRRM project coordinator Toppy Sundu said this trial bulb onion project was made possible by Ngo Pro Inc through its peer learning and exchange activities under its capacity-building programme to support community-based organisation (CBO) in the country.
Ngo Pro  has 10 partners based in Madang, Goroka, Chimbu and Bougainville.
Bougainville’s community-based organisation, Rotokas Eco-Tourism (RET) has invited IRRM from Gembogl in Chimbu to share its experiences not only in bulb onion production but also in other areas of management.
On the first day of onion training, Sundu said he was surprised to see more than 150 people  attending training at Tokarao and Sisiwi.
“Those participants were walking many kilometres, as far as Ibu, Karaturi, Ruruvu, Atau and Kakaspa in the Wakunai district of central Bougainville,  to get training,” Sundu said.
“The high number of people attending the training obviously reflects the greater need for families to be engaged in income-generating activities like farming to meet the very high cost of living in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB).
“AROB was found to be the only province suffering the high cost of goods and services and the government should seriously look into this matter and address it immediately.
“I would like to encourage the government and NGOs to closely focus on Bougainville to help the people to fully recover from the crisis.”
IRRM is located in Womkama village in Gembogl district, Chimbu.
The organisation was formed in 2005 to improve the living condition of Womkama community using locally available natural resources like land for agriculture. It has taken the lead in bulb onion farming and marketing in Gembogl.
Three months ago, the Womkama bulb onion farmers through IRRM for the second time broke the sales record of onion in Chimbu and PNG by selling 6.25 tonnes of onions to a firm in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands.
The farmers earned more than K18,000 from the sales.
The same tonnage was produced last year and shipped to Alotau Enterprise in Milne Bay.

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