Yams growing well on Manus Island

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011

M’BUKE Islanders of Manus are preparing to celebrate their second major harvest of Trobriand Islands yams they planted as part of a food security programme.
The event will be from June 23-24 and will see officers from the National Agriculture Research In­stitute and the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) at­tend as part of the programme agreement.
M’buke Islands People’s Association chairman Kisokau Pochapon said food security had been part of his people’s initiative and they were conscious about it even before climate change became an issue.
“In 2009, we moved 1,500 yam seedlings from a garden at 17-Mile outside Port Moresby and planted them on the island in September of the same year,” Pochapon said.
“We harvested 12,000 yams in May last year and decided to launch it as part of the programme. MIPA made a submission to the PNGSDP through the Na­tional Agriculture Re­search Institute (NARI) to have an agreement signed on May 23 last year, to carry out this programme.
“After the yam programme we planted other drought resistant crops like taro, banana, cassava and kaukau as part of the food security programme.
“We have a livestock programme in which we already have ducks on Whal island. Goats and a piggery will either be in the neighbouring Kole­palan or Pokali islands,” he said.
He said this food security programme was to help his people prepare for droughts or even to withstand the changes that effects of climate change would bring.
M’buke gardens and NARI project representative on the island Mwekau Kawatalu from Trobriand Islands said he had been the one in charge of the eight gardens that represented the eight clans.
“I planted the first gardens and now after planting the second garden of yams and harvesting them, I am now ready with the M’buke people to celebrate its yields.
“PNGSDP has funded the food security programme at a cost of K198,000 for two years now.
“NARI is the management partner and MIPA is the project owner,” Ka­watalu said.