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Papua New Guinea
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:
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.