The National- Monday, January 24, 2011
by VERONICA FRANCIS
FIVE women braved the road conditions of Rigo district, Central, on Jan 18 having one aim in mind, and that was to go down to the roots and see what PNG women in agriculture lacked and needed in the industry.
The Australian women in agriculture (AWIA) represented by Val Lang and Cathy McGowan, together with their counterparts from PNG, went to Giravu village inland Rigo and sat with the locals to identify their needs and what they lacked in agriculture.
It is understood that a survey on “Building Women’s Business Acumen” is currently in progress under a partnership between PNG women in agriculture development foundation (PNGWIADF), National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), AWIA, the University of Canberra and the Australian centre for agriculture research.
During the survey, certain problems were identified such as training in nursery preparations, the identification of varieties of produce which could grow in high and low altitudes, transportation and market to sell the produce.
A local spokesperson said they really need bridges on their two main creeks which turn into rivers when it rains, making it impossible for locals to bring their fresh produce to sell in Port Moresby.
He told The National that currently local farmers at Giravu village are registered under the Rigo-Koiari Cooperative Society; and they have only one tractor which services Giravu and also 15 other neighbouring villages.
“The survey is one effective way in which we can speak up and let our voices be heard so that we can get help where necessary,” he said.
According to Maria Linibi, the president of PNGWIADF, the survey basically was to identify issues PNGWIA face, their needs, expectations and come up with solutions on how best to address them.
However, she said in order to do that women needed the support of their husbands, brothers, sons and male counterparts in their villages.
She said gender equality and partnership will only create an effective pathway in meeting our objectives in agriculture.
The champions of agriculture left Port Moresby last week and will be in Lae for three days to conduct the survey for Momase region. Then they will head to Goroka for a similar exercise for the Highlands region.