Rabaraba District in Milne Bay was a beneficiary of an agricultural rehabilitation initiative between 2010-2012, courtesy of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the PNG Sustainable Development Programme (PNSDP).
The project was in response to the 2007 Cyclone Guba’s impact on food production and livelihood in Rabaraba and Oro province.
While PNGSDP provided the funding, NARI’s Southern Regional Centre at Laloki outside Port Moresby did the ground work in delivering foundation materials and trainings to communities affected by the disaster.
There was an immediate need to supply planting materials to the affected communities to alleviate the imminent shortages of food and planting materials. The project took the opportunity to introduce materials to resource centers and contact points for further multiplication and distribution to local communities. Materials supplied included some of the popular NARI selected and recommended food crops and small livestock.
According to Project Scientist, James Earnest, NARI Laloki provided planting materials of different varieties of NARI taro, African yams, sweet potato, cassava, rice and corn, and Muscovy ducks.
Additionally, two functional resource centers were established in Rabaraba station and Yoguba village.
In 2012, Mr Earnest said three trainings and demonstrations were conducted at three project sites – Rabaraba Station, Yoguba and Bogaboga. Over 100 farmers learnt the techniques on pest management such as chemical control of taro beetles and plant derived pesticides for vegetable pests.
He said another lot of trainings were conducted on food processing and preservation to 80 trainees, comprising both farmers and students. These simple trainings were focused on adding value to locally available food resources such as making jams from fruits for increased nutrition and cash for families.
Similar programs were also organized for Oro province during the project period. The project ends in the first quarter of 2013.