Growing own rice

National, Normal

The National – Monday, December 6, 2010

By ADRIAN MATHIAS DWU journalism student
BIANGABIP is a remote village in the North Fly district of Western, accessible only by small airplanes and dinghies going up the Fly River from Kiunga.
Having survived for decades on traditional food crops, this remote village is now growing rice as part of its agricultural development alongside its traditional food crops.
For ages, rice farming was never practised or heard of in this village.
But now, the villagers are growing rice and sooner or later they will become skilled rice farmers.
It is a new experience for them.
The success of these local farmers rests in the hands of the local and provincial governments for logistical and financial support.
If the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) could provide training and market incentives for local producers, then will they be able to participate actively in growing rice to sustain themselves and to make ends meet.
Despite the lack of support and recognition, the villagers continue to strive to grow rice.
Evidently, most people in the community have diverted their interest to this new endeavour and are keen on growing more rice.
A village spokesman, Memose Frank, said that the harvests they made so far were pleasing and were well beyond their expectations.
“We will continue to grow rice in our community because we have seen the importance of it,” he said.
 “But if we are given necessary training with proper equipment, we will increase our production,” Frank said.
He said they started growing rice last year when a fellow villager brought some grains on his return from another village where people were involved in rice farming.
“Right now, we are growing rice without any help from outside, the only help given to us was by two employees of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd from Biangabip who bought us two sets of rice mills,” Frank  said.