By Seniorl Anzu
Villagers including youths along the Kikori delta in the Gulf province can now practice modern agriculture for food security and income, thanks to Oil Search Limited and the PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNGWiADF).
The sole dependence on sago and fish for survival by the Kikori River people will be a thing of the past as they take up new skills and innovations in vegetable production. They can now farm round cabbages, broccolis, Chinese cabbages, carrots, spring onions, lettuce, pakchoi, watermelon and tomatoes.
Kikori youths – Dorothy Foroua (pictured right) and other young lash – showed much interest and were happily transplanting their first broccoli seedlings at Irimuka village near Kikori recently.
President of PNGWiADF Maria Linibi trained 26 villagers to practice modern agriculture through Oil Search’s Sustainable Development Programme. The training included land preparation, vegetable sowing, transplanting, and field management. Mrs Linibi said Kikori has the potential for innovative agriculture including vegetable farming, as observed during the training over a 5-month period and therefore she challenged the women especially the youth to start cultivating them for own consumption as well as capturing market opportunities offered by the oil and gas pipeline activity along the Kikori River.
The participants were appreciative and expressed that the training will change their livelihoods. Ms Foroua said their food resources were fish, sago and leaves from the bush but with the training exposure, it gives them the alternative to cultivate the land to improve their lifestyle. She said they are excited to try out something new and live from the land using the newly acquired skills and knowledge.
During the training, Ms Linibi also supplied seeds of upland rice varieties, corn, mung beans, and seeds of neem tree for formulating home-made pesticides.