The World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded coffee rehabilitation project continue to empower women in rural areas of the country.
A private sector firm Agro Dev Trade Ltd (ADDL) operating as lead partner in this coffee project has come up with a brilliant initiative to involve mothers of Kinjipi Women Community Development Club of Rombanga Parandaka Tribe in the Dei Council District, Jiwaka Province to deliver its bee keeping activity.
It was an exciting moment for the mothers who gathered at the village’s small arena on Tuesday 22 May to receive the lead partner Jacob Taru of ADTL and the project team headed by manager Potaisa Hombunaka to welcome this initiative.
“A door has opened for us the mothers. This is the first for such a help to come to the mothers in this community,” said Mrs Serah in Tok Pisin.
She added the K15 per drum they earn from selling coffee cherries is insufficient to buy necessities for the house.
Members of the women’s group are from five clans making up the Parandaka Tribe. They are open for membership. An interim club executive is made up of two representatives from each clans. The club will be a member of Kinjipi Women’s Association made up of 10 council wards.
The Parandaka Womens group will pilot this project which will later cover the Eastern Dei District.
The lead partner has a budget to employ an extension officer for honey development including funds for all equipment to set up the honey project.
“We have a separate budget for gender and household resilient training program as well. All in all this women’s program we see as critical for sustainability of coffee production has a budget of K100,000.”
“We thank God that this provision financed by World Bank, IFAD and PNG Government,” said Mr Taru.
Mr Taru added that they will train women in coffee husbandry to join their husbands in the coffee rehabilitation exercise.
“We will surprise the men folk. Our first training will be facilitated by the women’s club. We will conduct the training from Eastern Dei Coffee Field Workers starting this week.”
“All the Field workers and our ‘Master Farmer Trainers’ will come with their wife. This will be history in the making.”
“On my student trip to India I saw families leaving on Harihana Agriculture University getting training on campus. We will do it our way here,” added Mr Taru.
The coffee rehabilitation is a PNG Government (Coffee Industry Corporation through Department of Agriculture and Livestock) initiative supported by World Bank and IFAD through loan financing.
Project Manager Potaisa Hombunaka praised Mr Taru for the initiative.
“This is a brilliant initiative for the lead partner to involve women take charge of the bee keeping program under this project.
“Honey will provide additional income for the mothers which will benefit everyone in the house.”
Mr Hombunaka added that the bees contribute to effective pollination of coffee flowers plus other food crops and horticultural crops/fruits hence increase up to 30 % can be achieved. This was the rational to include bee keeping as an activity in the coffee rehabilitation project plus extra income during non-coffee season.
Agro Dev Trade Ltd is serving 605 households covering 330 hectares of blocks under the old plantation management system.
“There are 62 coffee Blocks and Plantations (about 2,000ha) in Dei District. There is no coffee processing factories in operation now. All plantations are run-down and not operating. We are the only private coffee extension service provided in Dei District,” said Mr Taru.
“We have had several coffee plantations owners referred to us by government agencies in Waigani. We do not have the funds. The CIC-PPAP program only targets 5ha smallholder household families.”
“We have 605 Households covering 330ha. We are however reaching out to the greater community using of community group extension approach.”
Over 100 mothers and young women gathered at Rombanga Village to welcome this initiative.
The gathering was different for many others in the area. This time mothers took the lead in the organising, speeches and they enjoyed every moment of it.
A young mother took the opportunity to say thank you to the wife of the lead partner.
“Before every successful man there is a woman. I want to acknowledge Mrs Miriam Taru for being a good wife and mother for standing behind the lead partner to bring this service to us.”Also present at the gathering was Director of Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority Julie Bengi.
“I have organized the women here. We have training and sleeping facilities and any training the project wants to bring here we’re ready.”
Empowering of women in rural areas is an important part or component of the coffee improvement work undertaken in 10 coffee growing provinces.