Solar-powered rice mills helping reduce family violence


A PAPUA New Guinea-Australia partnership solar-powered rice mill project in Morobe is helping to reduce violence in families.
In October, the National Agricultural Research Institute (Nari) delivered 12 of the rice-milling machines to communities in Wampit, Mutzing and Menyama to increase local rice production and improve food security.
According to the Australian High Commission, the mills’ positive effects on family violence was revealed in interviews with
members of the communities involved.
The interviews tried to determine the impact the mills had on the day-to-day life of the community members.
In these communities, women are the primary rice producers and are also responsible for feeding the family.
Women said that violence in their homes had reduced significantly since the mills were installed. The men agreed.
“The project has reduced a lot of domestic violence in the families,” the Australian High Commission said, quoting a woman.
“In the past, if husbands and children were hungry, that was a trigger for disagreement and domestic violence because the mother had not prepared food.
“When there was no money, that caused fights too.
“Now we have rice, extra money that has been saved and we make money from selling rice, so everyone is happy.
“We are less stressed about money and food now.”
Many women who were interviewed said they were earning more which was resulting increased economic stability, more variety in the family diet, and improved food security.
“We are now saving money that we usually spend on rice to pay for things like school fees and medicines,” one said.
“We all love rice here and we used to pay a lot of money before to buy rice from the stores.
“Now this money is saved and used for other things.”
The project is supported through the Incentive Fund and delivered by Nari, Trukai Industries, PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation and the Morobe division of agriculture and livestock across 30 communities in Markham, Huon-Gulf and Menyamya districts.