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Leadership forum for farm organizations

Leaders from various farmer organizations throughout PNG gathered at the Alan Quartermain Hall at NARI Bubia for a four-day engagement in learning exchange and leadership training opportunities.

A ‘PNG Farmer Organization Learning Exchange’ was organized by the Fiji-based Pacific Island Farmers Organization Network (PIFON) – from October 19-20 2015 – and a ‘Women’s Leadership Training’ was organized by Australia’s Charles Darwin University and delivered by the Australian Women in Agriculture from October 21-22 2015.

In partnership with the PNG Women in Agriculture, PIFON brought together over 100 leaders in various farming areas and expertise.

Morobe Governor Kasiga Kelly Naru welcomed the participants and opened the program on the first day, which was witnessed by representatives from NARI, PNGWiA, PIFON, CIMC, Australian Women in Agriculture, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and various farmer organizations throughout the country.

There were farmers in food crops, vegetables, livestock, apiculture, floriculture, aquaculture and horticulture, from across the breath and length of the country, including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Sepik region, Western Province, Southern Highlands, Central Province, Madang and Jiwaka. A few farmer representatives from other Pacific island countries were also in attendance – Solomon Islands, Tonga and Fiji.

Naru said many a times the leaders say so much about agriculture but they only “talk-the-talk” but it is the farmers who actually “walk-the-talk”.

He said such a forum was good for them to understand emerging issues and work together in combating prevailing challenges such as the changes in the climate and the current El Nino drought.

PNGWiA President Maria Linibi said the program was important for participants to share their experiences and learn from one another.

She said it was also her organization’s interest to create a forum for farmer groups working in isolation to network and improve their practices.

NARI Director General Dr Sergie Bang said farmer organizations were great partners in delivering research technologies down to the rural population. And for women organisations, Dr Bang said working with such groups was important not only because women are food producers that feed PNG but also in line with a NARI policy on gender mainstreaming.

The first two days saw farmer organizations sharing their experiences while the next two days were about leadership in different agricultural entrepreneurships.

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