By ANDREA WULAL
FARMING in Papua New Guinea is one of the most challenging ways to make business and earn a living.
This was one of the main issues that was discussed during a recent Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) Gender Workshop.
The Government through the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) with the help of the Food Agriculture Organisation (FOA) has done a couple of projects which are aimed at developing the agriculture and rural sectors however, “due to funds only a few of these projects are reaching its target populace and are making an impact,” Maureen Ubuna, Women In Agriculture (WIA) Officer, Central Provincial Administration, DAL. Due to Papua New Guinea having an unsteady weather pattern, farmers find it difficult to grow crops as this disturbs the harvesting and cultivation process.
Almost 90 per cent of the land in PNG is under customary ownership thus making it difficult for farmers when they have toiled up the land area belonging to them.
In the urban areas it is more difficult to obtain land for farming and the prices for pieces of land are quite steep.
“A lot of people are heavily reliant on this sector and it is important that we address this issue both in the urban and rural areas,” she said.
“Teach them skills on how to better manage the land and skills on how to efficiently grow crops so that healthier crops are harvested in bigger quantities.
“A lot of farmers in the rural areas lack this knowledge therefore, are still suffering with crop production as well as quantity.
She stated funds as being one of the main factors adhering the progress of these projects and called on DAL and the government to look into the matter.
“This is a critical issue as eighty five per cent of the rural population are subsistence farmers meaning that they use farming as their general means of earning an income to cater for their needs and wants.
“School fees are bought for children with the income that these farmers get from selling food crops and there are also success stories coming out of children who come from such backgrounds.
“Papua New Guineans have been agriculturalists for over 10,000 years and its time the government addressed this issue.”
By ANDREA WULAL