In recent years the highlands of Papua New Guinea have experienced unpredictable weather patterns that have impacted on food production and security. The El Nino weather pattern has resulted in an extension of the dry season that normally runs from June-September, resulting in drought and shortage of food supplies. The people in rural areas are particularly affected by the impacts of drought as their traditional subsistence agriculture does not cater for such extreme weather patterns. The highlands are also in preparation for predictions of a severe drought in 2012.
The funding received from Footprints for the Drought and Farming Program is integrated into a broader program, Capacity Strengthening for Vulnerable Communities (CSVC) which aims to:
- improve livelihood security and opportunities;
- empower target communities – through strengthening local capacity to act collectively; and
- improve the level of service delivery – through greater community voice participation in local development
To date, drought resistant varieties of crops have been distributed in Andakombie Ward. With the additional Footprints funding, CARE is now able to expand support in 3 districts, Obura-Wonenara, Bena and Daluo, in the following Wards; Akuna, Ubo, Kundana, Sasuara, Barabuna, Megabo and Asaro. These communities will all receive drought resistant crop varieties of taro, yam and cassava. In addition Footprints funding will support CARE’s partnership with the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), to undertake training on planting, harvesting, processing and storage of drought resistant crops.
Other supporting activities under the CSVC program in Obura-Wonenara include Peace & Reconciliation Trainings; assisted communities with coffee seeds and training; distributed fish fingerlings to support agricultural income generation; supported additional income generation activities for women’s groups; undertaken trainings and awareness in nutrition, HIV and AIDS and Gender Equality; and supported the development of adult literacy schools and trained volunteer literacy teachers.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) was initially considered a source of drought resistant yams - the specific crops the project identified as suitable. However, the project has subsequently needed to re-source a supplier for seeds.
Additionally, this is the first time these remote areas have received support of this nature and there has been a significant investment of time in working with communities to ensure they understand who CARE is, what is feasible within the project, managing expectations and especially planning with the communities to identify their needs and priorities.
Due to some of the time delays and the need for good planning, many of the activities funded by Footprints have been delayed until late 2009 / early 2010. We will follow up with another report at that stage.
It is known that the El Nino weather pattern is a major cause of drought problems in highlands of Papua New Guinea. The people in this rural area are suffering greatly during
droughts as the normal subsistence agriculture does not cater for such
extreme weather patterns and people are going hungry.
CARE Australia has identified the need to help this community better prepare for drought conditions - both from agricultural training and the provision of adequate crop seeds.
Project costs include:
- Implementation of drought preparedness activities including;
* awareness training about drought situations
* agricultural training on drought resistant vegetables
- Provision of seedlings to start farming drought resistant vegetables
- Transportation and access to communities.
Project Aims & outcomes
- To train the community in new agriculture methods so they can overcome hunger issues sustainably and for the long term
- To improve the food security for the 8000
people living in the target area throughout drought periods.
- Specifically to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable groups in these communities including elderly, young
people, women or people living with HIV who have greater health risks
due to lack of adequate nutrition.
The Department for Primary Industries in Eastern Highlands Province has a program on drought preparedness including the distribution of seeds/seedlings for communities. However, the Department lacks sufficient resources to implement its program, which results every year in 40% of the stocked seeds rotting in government facilities due to lack of adequate distribution mechanisms. The staff tasked with the implementation of the program can’t go out to communities and assist them to get prepared for the next drought.
The project is linked to three other CARE Australia projects operating in the area - Strengthening vulnerable communities, Rural Water Supply Sanitation Feasibility Study and Kisim Gutpela Save (female literacy project).
How was it this funded?
Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.
- World Nomads UK
CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. As a non-religious and non-political organisation, CARE works with communities to help overcome poverty by supporting development and providing emergency relief where it is needed most.
Last year, CARE assisted 122 million people across 84 countries through 1,015 poverty-fighting projects.