Markham woman farmer to represent Pacific region at international conference in Kenya

By Soldier Buruka

A prominent Papua New Guinean woman farmer will represent the Pacific region at a major international agriculture extension conference in Nairobi, Kenya, from November 15-18, 2011.

Maria Linibi, one of PNG’s outstanding role models for women farmers, will be among more than 20 Ministers of Agriculture and some 400 leading global experts in agriculture development who will gather at the Hilton hotel for the four-day event.

PNG model farmer, Maria Linibi (right), conducting training and distributing seeds to interested women in rural Kikori in the Gulf province in August 2010

Mrs Linibi, who is also the President of PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation, has been chosen as one of the key speakers at the conference.

Mrs Linibi and her husband, Peter, have developed and worked on their own farm for many years and she has used the experience gained to stimulate and encourage other women farmers in PNG. She has done so in trying circumstances. The former public servant from Markham in the Morobe province has trained many women farmers, organised them into groups, and also pioneered the production of plant-based organic products such as oil and locally medicated soap, amongst others.

The conference, titled “Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services: Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action”, will discuss issues relating to the neglected sector of agriculture extension and advisory services, and seek support from government agencies, private sector, other stakeholders to strengthen linkages between agriculture knowledge holders and policy makers and millions of struggling smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Agriculture extension and advisory services are viewed as essential to equipping farmers with the information, knowledge, confidence, tools and technologies they need to meet a daunting challenge: doubling food production on over the next few decades to keep pace with rapidly rising populations – even as climate change radically alters growing conditions.

The Nairobi meeting will focus on mobilising the national, regional and global knowledge networks needed to help farmers choose from a wide spectrum of productivity-enhancing and other innovations and access resources for meeting market requirements to compete in a constantly changing globalised world.

The Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation is the major sponsor of the conference and is also meeting the costs of the PNG participant.

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