The National – Thursday, February 17, 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
THE people of Male village in the Astrolabe Bay of Rai Coast had much to celebrate last Saturday when Madang Governor James Gau handed over a six-tonne Hino Truck, dubbed “Amung” or brother, to help villagers transport their cash crops.
The truck was decorated and led into the village by a singsing group and despite the overcast weather which brought a heavy downpour towards the end of the programme, it was still a joyous moment.
Gau told the crowd that cooperation was going to be needed by the community in managing the vehicle and that the vehicle must be used to help groups and not individuals for their own purpose.
Worth K154,000 and bought under the MP’s discretionary fund, the truck would be mainly to assist the Astrolabe
Bay Cooperative Society as well as bringing mothers to the markets and ferrying cash crops from people inland which would cut their freight costs on other PMVs.
Also presented during the event was the Astrolabe Bay agriculture five-year development plan by National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) manager for the Highlands, Kud Sitangu.
Sitangu said the people must turn back to their land and food crops due to the current climate change and engage themselves in more agricultural output.
“The quality of agricultural produce is no longer rich due to soil degradation.
“Harvest is not plentiful and big so we do not have enough to eat and sell.
“I am here to help anyone who is serious about food security in Astrolabe Bay.
“We must use this plan together with the various forms of assistance from the governor to help ourselves,” he said.
With a total of half a million from his discretional fund earmarked for school fees for Rai Coast with major road and bridge work continuing, Gau said his priorities laid with transport and education.